Fight Night Guide – The Ultimate Weekend Preview (Feb. 23 edition)

 The Fight Night Guide brings you a brief preview of every upcoming weekend’s most relevant fights compiled by the writing staff of Zona de Boxeo and The Sweet Science, with all the basic information you need to know to check out the action and to know what to expect from every fighter. Follow us every week at #FNG @TSSboxingnews @Morillaboxing

Inglewood, California, February 24

Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs Juan F. Estrada, 12 rounds, WBC super flyweight title

It is quite unthinkable to say this now, but back when Thailand’s Sor Rungvisai (44-4-1, 40 KOs) faced then-champion and pound-for-pound king Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez for the first time, NOBODY (yes, all caps) gave him any chance of ending the night with his hand being raised in the legendary Madison Square Garden in New York, back in March of last year. After two victories (the first one by controversial decision, the other one by an incontrovertible upset stoppage in four rounds) in 2017, now the fighter also known as Wisaksil Wangek is a clear favorite to defeat Mexico’s “El Gallo” Estrada (36-2-0, 25 KOs), who defeated Carlos “The Prince” Cuadras by unanimous decision in his last bout in another exciting fight. – JJ Alvarez

What to look for in this fight: A war, from beginning to end, with endless exchanges, in which Estrada will try to move constantly to avoid the Thai’s powerful left hand, the same hand that sent Gonzalez down for the count back in September.

Donnie Nietes vs Juan Carlos Reveco, 12 rounds, IBF flyweight title

Argentina’s “Cotón” Reveco (39-3, 19 KOs) will be facing one of the stiffest challenges of his career when he trades leather with three-time champ Nietes (40-1-4, 22 KOs), the current 112-pound king on a 32-fight winning streak that started on September of 2004 after a split decision loss against Indonesia’s Angky Angkota, in Jakarta.

Born in Malargüe, in the boxing hotbed province of Mendoza, the 34-year-old Reveco is on a three-fight winning streak since his back-to-back losses to Japan’s Kazuto Ioka, against whom he dropped his WBA flyweight belt back in 2015. His most recent victory was against Thailand’s Komgrich Nantapech back in September, when he thus became Nietes’ mandatory challenger.JJ Alvarez

What to look for in this fight: Reveco should be in the best possible shape of his life if he wants to survive the speed and power of Nietes’ hands in a fight in which a victory for him seems unlikely. But the Argentine has proved to be a tireless warrior, and it would not be unthinkable to see him defeat his Filipino opponent and achieve another milestone in his career. Reveco has a tendency to rise up to the challenge in the most difficult moments of his career, so nothing is off the table in this fight.

Brian Viloria vs Artem Dalakian, 12 rounds, vacant WBA flyweight title

A four-time world titlist, Viloria has had to wait five long years to find himself close to a new chance to wear a crown, and he may be able to achieve his dream against Azerbaijan’s unbeaten  Dalakian (15-0-0, 11 KOs), seven years younger (37 to Dalakian’s 30)  and with a big career in Ukraine, where he has been residing lately.

After losing by stoppage in nine rounds against Nicaragua’s “Chocolatito” González, Viloria, born in Waipahu, Hawai, notched a pair of wins, the latest one being against Miguel Cartagena by a fifth-round stoppage last September. – JJ Alvarez

What to look for in this fight: His greater experience against better opponents should lead Viloria to victory. But Dalakian carries quite the wallop and could be ready for an upset if Viloria’s defensive game is not up to the task. In any case, Viloria is the clear favorite to continue accumulating trophies in his already large glass case.

Carlos Cuadras vs McWilliams Arroyo, 10 rounds, vacant WBC Silver super flyweight title

Both “The Prince” Cuadras (36-2-1, 27 KOs), a former super flyweight titlist, and Puerto Rico’s Arroyo (16-3-0, 14 KOs) will be facing this challenge in survival mode, looking forward to returning to the top of the scene in the 115-pound category since both of them are coming off defeats. Cuadras lost against his Mexican compatriot Francisco “El Gallo” Estrada by decision in September, and Arroyo fell to “Chocolatito” González back in April of 2016, when the Nicaraguan prodigy held the WBC belt in the same division. Training now under the orders of  the experienced Abel Sanchez, the 29-year-old Cuadras is seen as an ample favorite to defeat the 32-year old Arroyo, who may have some serious ring rust after a two-year hiatus.JJ Alvarez

What to look for in this fight: Barring a surprise, the more mature and technical Cuadras should be victorious in this fight, even though Arroyo seems to be in top shape and may be able to make Cuadras’ hardcore followers eat their words in this already heated Puerto Rico-Mexico battle.

Nuremberg, Bayern, Germany, February 24

Callum Smith vs Nieky Holzken, 12 rounds, WBSS semifinal, super middleweights

A sudden diagnosis of flu symptoms felled Juergen Braehmer and forced him out of this semifinal of the World Boxing Super Series. In his place, the unknown Dutchman Holzken (13-0, 10 KOs) will be trading leather with Britain’s unbeaten Smith (23-0-0, 17 KOs) in their quest for a place in the tournament’s grand finale, which will give the winner $10 million US dollars and the Muhammad Ali trophy. Nicknamed “The Natural,” Holzken is a seven-time kickboxing titlist with less than five years as a professional boxer. Liverpool’s Smith is coming off a victory against Sweden’s Erik Skoglund on September 16 at the Echo Arena by scores of 117-111, 117-110 and 116-112.JJ Alvarez

What to look for in this fight: Very few people doubt that Smith will fail to stop Holzken before the end of the sixth round. The Englishman’s punching power and experience should be more than enough to take care of Holzken, who may have had a great run at the four-limb variation of the sport but is nowhere near as likely to have a significant impact in the realm of two-fisted fights.

Photo credit: Marcelino Castillo

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