East L.A.’s Seniesa Estrada vs. Yenifer Leon in Tijuana

Seniesa Estrada Back in Mexico and Looking For KOs 


By Felipe Leon


A few years ago Golden Boy Promotions made headlines when they jumped in the female boxing world signing former Olympian Marlen Esparza, Southern California amateur standout Seniesa “Superbad” Estrada and ultra-popular Maricela “La Diva” Cornejo.  Fast forward to now and Esparza was out of the game for a while after giving birth to a baby boy and Cornejo is no longer under the Golden Boy banner.


East L.A.’s Estrada (15-0, 5KO) still is under the banner and ready to make her 2019 debut this upcoming Saturday night from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, on a card televised by DAZN.  The 26-year-old Estrada will be defending her newly acquired WBC Silver light flyweight strap against hard-hitting southpaw Yenifer Leon (9-1, 6KO) of Venezuela in a scheduled ten-rounder.


The title fight will mark the second time in a row Estrada, who is of Mexican descent, fights south of the border and she couldn’t be more excited about it.


“I am excited to fight in TJ.  I’m excited to let more of the Mexican fan base get to know me.  To have different parts of Mexico get to see me fight.  I’m excited to get more of the Mexican fan base to support me,” Estrada said.


In Yenifer Leon she will be facing a slightly more experienced fighter than her at the world stage since the also 26-year-old challenged for the WBA 105-pound title last August against long-reigning champion Anabel “Avispa” Ortiz.  Leon suffered her first and only loss via a unanimous decision in a fight Estrada and her team have studied.


“Yenifer Leon, she was 9-0 before she lost to Anabel Ortiz so it is a good opponent to lose to,” Estrada said of her next opponent.   “I watched the fight and I saw a couple of rounds that she won but I think it was unanimous decision for Ortiz.  Ortiz clearly won but she put up a fight.  She showed a lot of heart.”


She showed determination, she didn’t give up,” she continued.  “She is left-handed and I think what is going to help me is I never had trouble with southpaws and I switch to southpaw as well.  Anabel Ortiz I think she doesn’t really, she can’t, it seemed like she didn’t really know what to do against a lefty in order to stop Leon from doing certain things.  I think the difference with me is that I know what to do against a lefty.  I have been working on different moves, different footwork and different punches to land against Leon.  I think it should be a different outcome with me.  I am hoping to get the stoppage before round ten.”


The fight also marks the first time Leon will be fighting at the light flyweight limit of 108 pounds so Estrada feels she must make a statement although adding she doesn’t feel any pressure to do more than what comes naturally.  “I don’t feel that there is any pressure because of that but I know that is what I want the outcome to be.  I want to get the knockout so I can show that this is really my weight class and I am the hardest puncher throughout this weight class.


“I feel fighting at this weight class, 105 or 108, I don’t have to go out there and try too hard to hurt somebody,’ Estrada stated confidently.  “I feel it kind of just comes naturally as long as I train hard, stick to the game plan and listen to my corner.  It will eventually come whether it is early in the fight, middle of the fight or late in the fight.  I feel comfortable at this weight class and I am happy I can get the opponents in my natural weight.”


In her first fight in Mexico last November in Mexicali, Mexico, a mere three hours east of Tijuana, Estrada made the statement she was looking for in capturing the vacant WBC Silver strap. Estrada faced veteran Debora Rengifo who she promptly stopped in four with a highlight reel worthy knockout.


“I knew going into the fight she was a tough opponent because she has fought current world champions and she went the distance with all of them,” she said.  “She recently fought Anabel Ortiz who is the current WBA 105-pound world champion from Mexico.  She fought a tough fight against her losing a ten round decision.”


“I knew going into the fight she was going to be game and she was going there to win,” she explained.  “I think my skills really stood out that night.  I wasn’t going in there trying to get the knockout.  I ended up getting the stoppage in the fourth round which kind of made a statement as far as my punching power and my skill.  She also fought Yesica Bopp who is the WBA light flyweight champion from Argentina.  Bopp stopped her as well but that was in the eighth round. To be able to do that without being a current world champion made a pretty good statement for myself.  I am very happy with the outcome of the fight.”


Knockout streak


Now Estrada is on a three-fight knockout streak and she looks to continue it this Saturday night.  Despite surprising some people with her recent display of power, Estrada says it is nothing new she just didn’t have the opportunity to show it.


“I know I have always been the hardest puncher in my weight division.  I know that for a fact.  I was never able to show it because I wasn’t signed to a promoter,’ she stated.  “I didn’t have a promoter and I would always have to take fights with bigger girls, heavier girls, because promoters didn’t want to pay to get me somebody my own size.  I would go against girls that were 114 but a lot of them were actual bantamweights coming down to 114.  I would have to take a fight at that weight when I walk around like at 114-115.  Next day in the ring they would be 125-130 and I would still be like at 112.  Now I am fighting opponents at my weight class so I am able to show my punching power.  I signed with Golden Boy in January of last year and since then I have three knockouts in four fights with them.  They have been getting me girls at my weight class.”


Estrada feels she would be even more effective at a lower weight class so after this fight her team, which includes her father Joe Estrada and trainer Dean Campos, along with Golden Boy look for a world title opportunity this coming May.


“We have a really good plan.  I am going to defend this title and then in May fight for the WBA world title at 105 pounds,” she said enthusiastically.  “My last two or three fights of the year we are going to go for a third title.  I am just glad Golden Boy Promotions are making my dreams come true and my vision as far as what titles I want to win and when I want to fight a certain person for the title.  I am happy about that, I am happy they are making it happen for me.”


In her way would be Anabel Ortiz, the fighter who last beat Yenifer Leon.  Ortiz has held the WBA title for six years since defeating Etsuko Tada in Japan and has defended it ten times.  “I would go down to 105 pounds to fight Anabel Ortiz. That is what we are planning on doing next in May.  I haven’t fought in that weight class but there is tons of women in that weight and plenty of titles at that weight class.  I would have no problem making the weight.  I feel I would be the bigger opponent and stronger at 105 than I am at 108.”


(Photo by Al Applerose)