Juan Francisco Estrada vs. Joshua Franco is one of the sport’s most odd continuing sagas.
Golden Boy, who paid $120,000 for the rights to the WBA-mandated championship battle, first notified the WBA that the match would take place on July 16. Then there was widespread anticipation that Estrada would drop his belt in favor of a more lucrative rubber battle with Chocolatito Gonzalez.
Now, Zanfer’s Fernando Beltran informs Francisco Salazar that Estrada vs. Franco is still in the works, with Salvador Rodriguez stating that it will air on August 20. In response, Mauricio Sulaiman informed Rob Tebbutt that the WBC would revoke “El Gallo” of his “franchise” championship if the Franco bout went forward.
Let us go back to June 2019, when Canelo Alvarez was crowned the first-ever franchise champion. According to the official WBC press release, the title is “not transferable” and that the titlist would “represent the WBC in every single fight as a reigning WBC champion, independent of any special circumstances or titles being connected with any future fights.”
They previously broke the “non-transferable” rule when Teofimo Lopez defeated Vasiliy Lomachenko, and it now appears that they’ve broken every other rule as well.
If they do end up removing Estrada, it’s a complete victory; Canelo will never fight at 160 again, rendering his franchise championship meaningless, and Devin Haney’s victory against George Kambosos Jr united the franchise and real belts at 135. After three years, that waste will be extinct.
Juan Francisco Estrada
Juan Francisco Estrada Romero is a professional boxer from Mexico. He is a two-weight world champion, having held both the The Ring super flyweight championship and the WBA (Super) title since March 2021. Between 2012 and 2015, he held the WBA (Unified) and WBO flyweight belts, as well as the WBC super flyweight title in March 2021. In 2012, he also competed for the WBA light flyweight belt. Estrada is ranked ninth in the world pound for pound by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (TBRB), seventh by The Ring, and tenth by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) as of January 2021. The Ring, the TBRB, and BoxRec all rank him as the world’s top active super flyweight.
Franco made his professional debut on August 6, 2015, defeating Temoatzin Landeros in a four-round split decision (SD) at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, California. During the following three years, he compiled a 14-1 record, with six of his victories coming via stoppage. On October 4, 2018, Franco was slated to face Oscar Negrete for the WBC-NABF bantamweight title at The Hangar in Costa Mesa, California. The fight was scheduled as the main event on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. The boat was called a split draw after both men fired over 1000 blows. One of the judges rated each combatant 96–94, while the third judge gave the fight a 95–95 tie.
The WBC-NABF and vacant WBA International bantamweight belts were on the line in an instant rematch. The rematch was set for April 25, 2019, as the co-main event of a junior welterweight battle between Yves Ulysse Jr. and Steve Claggett on DAZN. Franco won by unanimous decision, with one score of 98-92 for Negrete and 96-94 and 97-93 for Franco. Franco made the first defense of his two secondary championships against Oscar Negrete on August 10, 2019.
The trilogy battle was supposed to be the co-main event of a welterweight match between Vergil Ortiz Jr. and Antonio Orozco. Franco and Negrete battled to a split decision tie once more, this time with scores of 96–94, 95–95, and 93–96, the same as in their first meeting. On a DAZN broadcast card on January 11, 2020, Franco was slated to meet Jose Alejandro Burgos in a non-title contest. For this match, Franco dropped from junior bantamweight to super flyweight. He won the bout by a ninth-round technical knockout.