Seniesa Estrada Defends WBC Silver Title vs Gretchen Abaniel

Seniesa Estrada: “I’m the Hardest Puncher in my Weight Class,”


By David A. Avila

In the dimly lit streets of Hollywood a petite looking Seniesa Estrada will pass by people on the sidewalks of the film capitol. Some of the local wolves will notice and others will tilt their heads in recognition but fail to come up with her identity.

For the many ardent fans of the East L.A. born and raised prizefighter they immediately know her as “Super Bad.”

The undefeated Estrada (16-0, 6 KOs) defends the WBC Silver light flyweight title against Philippines Gretchen Abaniel (18-10, 6 KOs) at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood on Thursday June 13. DAZN will stream the title fight live.

Abaniel, 33, is a veteran of multiple world title fights. Though she was unable to defeat Zongju Cai or Tenkai Tsunami, the experience gained against those two world champions in Macao and Japan is invaluable against the speedy and accurate blows of Estrada.

This will be Estrada’s second defense of the title that comes with a high ranking in the WBC and places her either first or second below the current WBC light flyweight world titlist Yesenia Gomez. It’s not enough for Estrada.

“I want to fight for the world title,” said Estrada, 26. “I don’t care where we fight.”

20 years ago

Holding the world championship belt has always been a dream of the barely over 100 pounds boxer. It’s been a lifelong goal that began nearly 20 years ago.

Wherever Estrada goes she seems to be able to fit in like a glove. If Hollywood movie stardom had been a goal she probably would have cracked through that door. Some say she resembles Elizabeth Olsen of the Avengers movie franchise. If college had been her choice she surely would have excelled. Blessed with a quick mind and determination, she always seems to hit her mark.

Boxing, however, seems to be her love.

“I’ve always wanted to be a boxer,” said Estrada who began when still in elementary school and put on boxing gloves that seemed too big for her.

Her father Joe Estrada at first did not want to accommodate her. But here she is two decades later vying for the world championship and zeroed in like a laser, it’s one of the traits that best describe her. She sets a target and nothing deters her from rocketing straight toward it.

Even in her teens, she could be seen sparring with professional women throughout Southern California and beyond. As an amateur she won various titles but her style was more professional than the standard boxing style preferred in the international amateur boxing world. So she departed for the pro world.

But even in the professional prizefighting world Estrada has been an anomaly. Weighing less than 108 pounds the petite boxer lives in an area that does not have many female fighters in her weight class. In the U.S. it’s a weight division that doesn’t produce many unlike in Mexico or other parts of Latin America. Only in Asia can fighters below 108 be found in abundance. Thus, Estrada is fighting Abaniel.

During most of her professional career Estrada has traded blows with taller and much bigger fighters and won.

Then things abruptly changed in the past two years.

“Now that I have a promoter it’s easier to get fights against girls in my weight class,” said Estrada.

The result has been staggering. In her last four fights, she has produced four straight knockout wins. Suddenly the power seemed apparent.

“I’m the hardest puncher in my weight class,” said Estrada when asked about her new found power. “Before, I was fighting girls much bigger than me so it was harder to knock them out. Now I’m fighting against girls my same size.”

Clearly she has a point.

When Estrada steps into the boxing ring those watching on DAZN and those ringside will be looking to see this hardest puncher in the light flyweight division.

Can she deliver?

“I don’t look for the knockout,” said Estrada. “I look to dominate my opponent.”

On Thursday night, Hollywood gets a glimmer of boxing’s future. All eyes will be on the East L.A. fighter that looks like an Avenger.


(Photo by Al Applerose)