Photo Credit: Esther Lin/Showtime
CARSON CA — A bad cut and lingering hand problems weren’t enough to deter WBC lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa, who successfully defended his strap with a 9th round TKO of Daniel Estrada last night at the StubHub Center.
Estrada recently lost his sister and niece in a tragic car accident, making the challenger determined to win this bout in their memory. He occasionally found success when he looped his left hook to the body, but struggled to match Figueroa’s high punch output, counter shots, and superior inside fighting.
Figueroa did a lot of his trademark switch-hitting, which helped to compensate of his nsggin left hand injury and assist in keeping Estrada confused defensively. An accidental head butt in the eighth opened a jagged, vertical cut between Figueroa’s eyebrows. Estrada then had his best moment in the round’s final minute by pinning Figueroa in a corner and unleashing a horde of power shots. The champion wasn’t deterred, and snatched back his moment by fighting off the ropes with his own flurry of combinations that had Estrada on the ropes as the bell sounded.
The deciding ninth round sequence began with Figueroa countering a lazy Estrada left jab with an overhand right for the bout’s only knockdown. Estrada rose and was met with a never-ending barrage of power shots, forcing the referee stoppage after several flush left hooks left Estrada defenseless.
“I was a little concerned that the referee or doctor would stop the fight because of the cut,” said Figueroa. “I knew Estrada would be open for the right hand. I was playing a little possum when I caught him.”
For fans who’d like to see Figueroa remain at 135 and possibly face Golden Boy stablemate Jorge Linares, they received a glimmer of hope.
“I’m not 100 percent positive I am going to stay at 135 pounds,” Figueroa admitted. “I’m sure my body would be more comfortable fighting at 140. But if the money is right, I would defend again at 135.”