‘SuperFly 3’ to take place at the Forum
Some familiar names are missing from this weekend’s edition of the highly successful and acclaimed “SuperFly” brand. Absent is Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, whose success was the impetus for this series, and WBC junior bantamweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, who vaulted into notoriety by defeating Gonzalez twice in 2017 and beating Juan Francisco Estrada in an exciting battle, last February on “SuperFly2.”
Also not participating this weekend are IBF 115-pound beltholder Jerwin Ancajas and WBA titlist Kal Yafai.
The line-up that will be featured on HBO from the Forum, in Inglewood, California, has Estrada facing Felipe Orucuta, Donnie Nietes versus Aston Palicte (for the vacant WBO junior bantamweight belt) and Kazuto Ioka facing McWilliams Arroyo.
It’s a solid, if not spectacular, fight card.
And when asked if this was the toughest SuperFly to patch together, the lead promoter of this show and head of 360 Promotions Tom Loeffler told UCNLive.com, “Y’know, they’re all difficult. The great thing about the SuperFly series is that the fighters come in from all over the world and it’s great for the fans. It’s challenging for the promotion, absolutely, with the flights, the hotels and training camps and everything like that.
“Each one has had its own character, each one has had its down challenges but, when they come together, it’s a great show. Now the fans realize, ‘OK, SuperFly 1 was great; SuperFly 2 was great. SuperFly 3 has great match-ups on it,’ so SuperFly has really turned into its own brand and the fans know that every time there’s a SuperFly show, that the great thing about this division is that the best fighters don’t mind fighting the best.”
This series kicked off last year and it marked a landmark achievement of sorts, in being a boxing broadcast on a major network that featured the sport’s little big men across the board. For the sport’s smaller weight classes, it was a breakthrough in America.
“They realize it’s a big step for them, big exposure for them on HBO and it makes it a lot easier putting the matches together, the top match-ups on this series than in some of the heavier divisions,” said Loeffler, who was actually dialed up by multi-division champion Ioka, who had been in retirement in Japan. He is now under the 360 banner.
Now Loeffler says he regularly fields phone calls from fighters around the 115-pound class. He says with a laugh, “I’ve really become the Pied Piper for the super flyweight division. They love being on HBO and we get so many inquiries and naturally we try to put the best match-ups together. It’s a little ironic that we have two Mexican fighters fighting against each other with Estrada and Orucuta. It just happened to work out that way. Two Filipino fighters (Nietes and Palicte) fighting against each other, the Philippines has a long history of having top fighters, so they’re guaranteed to have another world champion after September 8th.
“Ioka got in contact with me to be on this show, so we field a lot of calls and that’s what really what makes it exciting for us to put on the best match-ups, if we can sort through the fighters that want to be on the show and choose the guy that is most talented.”
But how long can this series can be sustained in the future if boxers like Ancajas (who is aligned with Top Rank and therefore on ESPN platforms) and Yafai (who is with Matchroom Boxing and will most likely be headed to DAZN) are not part of this mix? This edition of SuperFly does lack some of the true star power of its predecessors but Loeffler has certainly done his part to push this event, organizing a meet-and-greet for Nietes and Palicte at the Filipino Community Center in Los Angeles. Last Sunday a public workout was staged at the Azteca Gym for Estrada.
As for Sor Rungvisai, who is making a title defense in his home country of Thailand in October, the hope is he will headline “SuperFly 4.”
Loeffler said last Friday, “I can easily see that happening because Estrada and Orucuta is the official eliminator for the WBC mandatory for Srisaket’s WBC championship. I don’t like to get ahead of ourselves because you never know what happens next week on September 8th but that would be the mandatory defense for Srisaket.”
And there’s that old phrase from Larry Merchant: Fights make fights.
“The winner of the Nietes-Palicte and the winner of the Ioka-Arroyo, all these guys will go onto some great match-ups and that’s the fun part of this SuperFly series,” says Loeffler.
DAZN announced on Monday that it would provide a live stream of the Amir Khan-Samuel Vargas fight on its social media platforms this Saturday…ESPN+ has picked up the rights to the fight card in Australia featuring Tim Tszyu this weekend…360 Promotions will be streaming the undercard this Saturday night, from the Forum, with Doug Fischer, Cynthia Conte and Yours Truly on the call…All I want for Christmas is a new quarterback for the Miami Hurricanes…Yeah, I’m absolutely DVR’ing “The Bobby Brown Story” on BET…It pains me to say it but “Ballers” on HBO is out of my rotation now. However “Insecure” remains high quality…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.