Seniesa Estrada is looking to continue the big year for women’s boxing with her debut for Top Rank

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 08: Seniesa Estrada poses after the Claressa Shields vs Savannah Marshall Press Conference at Canary Riverside Plaza Hotel on September 08, 2022 in London, England.  (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Seniesa Estrada will face Jazmin Gala Villarino on Saturday after a pay dispute with her former promoter left her sidelined for almost a year. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

One of the stories of the year in professional boxing was the rise of women in sports. Finally, after years of being ignored, underpaid, undervalued, and added to the cards as little more than eye candy for male-dominated audiences, those with power in esports have finally awakened to the fact that A) women can fight and B) it can gives a large potential audience for it.

It hasn’t progressed as quickly as it should have and it’s long gone, but women are finally getting promoted and recognized for their boxing skills.

Much of this has been accomplished with one of the most talented women on the sidelines.

Seniesa Estrada, one of the pound-for-pound best in the world, has not fought since stopping Maria Micheo Santizo in the fourth round of a bout for the WBA strawweight title on December 18 in San Antonio, Texas . Estrada dropped Micheo Santizo twice in that fight but has not fought since.

She got into a financial dispute with Golden Boy Promotions and was released after several months. Top Rank signed her immediatelymaking her only the second fighter under contract.

She will make her Top Rank debut at The Palms in Las Vegas on Saturday when she faces Jazmin Gala Villarino for the WBA strawweight title.

“It’s no secret that I wanted more money,” Estrada told Yahoo Sports. “That was the problem. We couldn’t agree on what I wanted.”

She was one of the most exciting fighters in the sport and had the attitude that so many of her peers have that she was not only willing but eager to fight the best. Her best weight is still 105 pounds but she will fight at 108 and even 112 to make a big fight.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 09: (RL) Tenkai Tsunami takes on Seniesa “Super Bad” Estrada fight at Banc of California Stadium on July 9, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Sye Williams/Golden Boy/Getty Images)

Seniesa Estrada (L) eyes unification fights. (Photo by Sye Williams/Golden Boy/Getty Images)

Perhaps the most significant win of her career came on November 2, 2019 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on a card titled Canelo Alvarez and Sergei Kovalev. She defeated Rival Marlen Estrada by technical decision after nine rounds when a large cut to Estrada’s head from an accidental butt caused the fight to be abandoned.

She was nowhere near a flyweight but gave as much as she could throughout the fight.

“I ate pizza and whatever I wanted that week,” Estrada recalled. “On fight night I weighed 109 pounds. On fight day I’m usually nervous and I wasn’t eating and I was 109. Marlen was a lot more than that. I think she was 122-125. But I didn’t care because I believed in myself and what I can do.”

When she steps into the ring, it will be 11 months or, as she is quick to point out, 328 days since she last fought. She loves to compete and hated missing out on the big fights her peers were involved in. But she had to show her support by showing up ringside and cheering them on.

She was in London for the historic All-Women card led by Claressa Shields against Savannah Marshall in the main event and headlining Alycia Baumgardner vs. Mikaela Mayer in the co-main. That fight attracted 2 million viewers on Sky Sports in the UK, an almost unimaginable figure just a few years ago.

“I loved the attention given to this map and these fighters,” she said. “It was just incredible and as a boxer it made me proud. I think that was just the beginning and the women are getting better and better and you’re going to see more big fights and women that are so central. “

Estrada dreams big and wants to fight the biggest matches Top Rank can put together. In her division, Yokasta Valle is the unified champion and holds the IBF and WBO belts. In the junior flyweight division, Evelyn Bermudez is unified and also holds the IBF and WBO titles. And at flyweight sits her old rival Esparza, who has the WBA and WBC belts.

Big fights are in her future and if she pulls off what she thinks she can – remember, she has a win against the unified flyweight champion who fights two divisions above her – she may have to remodel a house to make a bigger one Creating trophy room to hold all their belts.

It all starts on Saturday when she will take care of business against Gala Villarino.

“She’s a tough fighter,” said Estrada. “I’ve seen a few of her fights and she’s usually aggressive, but she boxed more in her last fight. She boxed more and moved more in this fight, so I’m not sure which Yazmin will show up. But I know I’ve done it to control what I can and fight how I have to and if I do that things will be fine.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 13: Mark Davis (L) and Seniesa Estrada (R) attend the Teofimo Lopez vs Pedro Campa fight night at Resorts World Las Vegas on August 13, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)
Seniesa Estrada (R) poses with Las Vegas robbers Owner Mark Davis not long after signing with Top Rank. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

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