22.12.04 – The much anticipated pro debut of 2004 U.S. Olympian Jason Estrada two weeks ago at Foxwoods Resort Casino was the first step on his mission to prove to the boxing world that he’ll be an even better pro than amateur. In his first fight as a pro against a game Joseph Reyes Kenneth, the 24-year-old Estrada floored his opponent once en route to a unanimous four-round decision in a match he dominated..
“I felt that I had a lot to prove,” Jason said after the fight. “Some people were saying I wasn’t going to be what I was hyped up to be. I felt great.”
Providence native Estrada arguably was the most outstanding U.S. amateur boxer of the past decade, registering a remarkable record of 261-14, excluding international matches, and becoming the first boxer to win both the U.S. Nationals and U.S. Challenge three years (2001-2003) in a row.
Highlights of his amateur career was qualifying for the U.S. 2004 Olympic Boxing Team and winning a gold medal at the 2003 Pan-American Games in the Dominican Republic. Estrada was the lone U.S. boxer to capture a gold medal at the 2003 Pan-Am Games and first non-Cuban to ever win the super heavyweight championship there. A foot injury hampered his training for the Olympic Games, in which, he reached the quarterfinals before being eliminated by Michael Lopez Nunez, the same boxer he had defeated in the gold-medal match at the Pan-Am Games.
Against Kenneth, of Miami, Estrada was in complete control from start to finish, putting the bloodied-nosed Reyes on the canvas and under the bottom rope less than a minute into the opening round. “He was tough,” Jason noted. “I hit him with some vicious shots and he stayed in there. He came to fight and I give him a lot of credit. A lesser man would have gone down and stayed there.
“I wanted to go out there and establish my presence first. I really wanted to get that momentum going and keep it. I’m happy with my performance. This was my first fight, the first time fighting without headgear. I do need to relax more; I was so anxious to get in there.”
Estrada went right back into training three days later at Manfredo’s Gym in Pawtucket. He is expected to fight on CES’ next show in early 2005.
“We wanted a fighter to come in and push Jason for four rounds and that’s exactly what Kenneth did,” Estrada’s promoter Jimmy Burchfield (Classic Entertainment & Sports, Inc.) commented. “Jason had 16 years experience as an amateur boxer, but it was a little different without head gear and using smaller gloves. This was what the doctor ordered, I’m very happy. Kenneth was still pushing in the fourth round. This was just the first step for Jason Estrada. People are going to watch him grow into a world champion someday.