HBO is set to return with the third installment of its highly-successful and critically-acclaimed “SuperFly” on September 8 with perhaps its most diverse and unique card yet.
Although this card won’t have familiar faces such as Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and Carlos Cuadras, the card will still feature a world title fight as well as the return of Juan Francisco Estrada and McWilliams Arroyo, who scored an upset win over Cuadras on the second SuperFly card back in February.
Joining the new group of super flyweight boxers is none other than three-division champion Kazuto Ioka coming out of a brief retirement to embark on a quest to win another title. Ioka, who at one point was one of Japan’s biggest stars, retired some time back after a falling out with his father who was also his promoter. Now that Ioka has come out of retirement, he will travel to the United States for the first time in his career as well as make his debut at 115 pounds.
Ioka will be taking on the budding Puerto Rican star in Arroyo who won the WBC Silver title with a shocking victory over Cuadras back in February. Arroyo is on the short list of fighters who could soon be challenging for the WBC world title, hoping to win his first world title in his third attempt.
But the big fight on this third SuperFly event is the all-Filipino brawl for the vacant WBO 115-pound title between Donnie Nietes and Aston Palicte. The title was previously held by Naoya Inoue, who has since then moved on to win a bantamweight world title and enter the World Boxing Super Series.
As for the two contenders vying for the WBO belt, Nietes, who has been one of boxing’s most successful fighters in the lower weights in the past decade, has a chance to make history. Should Nietes emerge victorious, he will become the 18th fighter in boxing history to win a world title in four weight classes.
On the other hand, Palicte has been slowly climbing the WBO ranks, winning a number of regional titles and coming out the victor in 14 of his last 15 fights. After two TKO victories in his last two fights in 2017 and Inoue vacating the title, the opportunity has emerged for Palicte to score a career-defining victory in the United States against a potential Hall of Famer.
Lastly, the main event features Estrada, the division’s top boxer to not currently hold a world title, returns to the SuperFly series for a third time after his fights on the first two cards ended up becoming “Fight of the Year” contenders. Back in February, Estrada lost to Sor Rungvisai with the WBC title at stake, but with the fight being decided by narrow margins on the scorecards (115-113, 114-114, 117-111), Estrada remained the WBC’s No. 1 contender with the hope that a rematch would take place on September 8. Though the rematch never came, Estrada still remained the headliner for this upcoming SuperFly card.
Orucuta is not very well known outside of his native Mexico, but he is a more than serviceable replacement for Sor Rungvisai in this main event against Estrada. Fighting in the lower weights of boxing, Orucuta sports one of the division’s best knockout percentages at 83.3 percent. A win over Estrada could potentially catapult Orucuta to a potential title shot down the line.
Here is the full card for SuperFly 3 (9:45 p.m. ET/HBO):
- Juan Francisco Estrada vs. Felipe Orucuta: Super Flyweight Bout
- Donnie Nietes vs. Aston Palicte: Vacant WBO Super Flyweight Title Bout
- Kazuto Ioka vs. McWilliams Arroyo: Super Flyweight Bout
Tale of the Tape: Juan Francisco Estrada vs. Felipe Orucuta
Juan Francisco Estrada
Record: 36-3 (25 KO)
Notable Fights: Roman Gonzalez, Brian Viloria, Milan Melindo, Hernan Marquez, Carlos Cuadras, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
Titles Won: WBA “Super” Flyweight, WBO Flyweight World Titles
Record: 36-4 (30 KO)
Notable Fights: Omar Narvaez, Javier Gallo
Titles Won: WBC Continental Americas Super Flyweight Title
Tale of the Tape: Donnie Nietes vs. Aston Palicte
Record: 41-1-4 (23 KO)
Notable Fights: Moises Fuentes, Juan Carlos Reveco, Francisco Rodriguez Jr., Sammy Gutierres, Mario Rodriguez
Titles Won: WBO Minimumweight, WBO Light Flyweight, Ring Magazine Light Flyweight, IBF Flyweight World Titles
Record: 24-2 (20 KO)
Notable Fights: Jose Alfredo Rodriguez
Titles Won: IBF Youth Super Flyweight, WBO Oriental Super Flyweight, IBF Pan Pacific Super Flyweight, NABF Super Flyweight
Tale of the Tape: Kazuto Ioka vs. McWilliams Arroyo
Record: 22-1 (!3 KO)
Notable Fights: Juan Carlos Reveco, Akira Yaegashi, Felix Alvarado, Juan Hernandez Navarrete
Titles Won: WBA Minimumweight, WBC Minimumweight, WBA Light Flyweight, WBA Flyweight World Titles
Record: 17-3 (14 KO)
Notable Fights: Froilan Saludar, Gilberto Mendoza, Roman Gonzalez, Carlos Cuadras
Titles Won: WBO Latino Flyweight, Interim WBC Latino Flyweight, WBC Silver Super Flyweight