The Superfly 3 card is coming together.
The third installment of the popular series from promoter Tom Loeffler and HBO, which will take place on Sept. 8 at The Forum in Inglewood, California, features top fighters from the deep 115-pound weight class, which is known as the junior bantamweight or super flyweight division.
Top contender Juan Francisco Estrada (36-3, 25 KOs), 28, of Mexico, a former unified flyweight world titleholder, likely will appear in the main event against an opponent to be determined, Loeffler told ESPN on Wednesday.
Estrada saw a 10-fight winning streak come to an end in the main event of Superfly 2 on Feb. 24 when he lost an action-packed rumble to world titleholder Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Loeffler and HBO hoped to put on a rematch but Sor Rungvisai decided to take an Oct. 6 defense in his home country of Thailand instead.
Estrada was also one of the stars of Superfly 1 last September when he dropped former titlist Carlos Cuadras in the 10th round and won a hard-fought unanimous decision, 114-113 on all three scorecards.
Three-division world titlist Kazuto Ioka (22-1, 13 KOs), 29, Japan, will also appear on the televised tripleheader. He announced that he is coming out of retirement and the Superfly 3 appearance will mark his return against an opponent to be determined.
Ioka, who has won belts at strawweight, junior flyweight and flyweight, hasn't boxed since retaining his flyweight title by unanimous decision over Noknoi Sitthiprasert in April 2017. In November, Ioka vacated the belt and later retired. But Ioka is coming back and Loeffler said he will be moving up one weight class for what will be his first fight outside of Japan.
"Ioka is a legend in Japan, a three-division world champion, so he would be a great addition to the show," Loeffler said.
Another bout headed for the card is the Donnie Nietes' opportunity to win a world title in a fourth weight division when he fights Filipino countryman Aston Palicte for a vacant 115-pound belt.
"That's definitely one of the fights we want to have on Superfly 3," Loeffler said. "Donnie had a great win on Superfly 2 so it makes sense to bring him back."
Originally, the bout was being planned for Aug. 18 in the Philippines but Nietes promoter Michael Aldeguer of ALA Sports Promotions told ESPN plans are in the works to move it to the Superfly 3 card.
"We have started negotiations for Donnie to be part of Superfly 3," Aldeguer told ESPN. "We are hoping to finalize the deal with Tom and HBO for Sept 8 soonest."
Nietes (41-1-4, 23 KOs), 36, who is unbeaten since 2004, has won world titles at strawweight, where he made four title defenses; junior flyweight, where he made nine; and flyweight, where he made one. He is the Philippines' most decorated fighter other than Manny Pacquiao over the past decade and made his only flyweight title defense by one-sided seventh-round knockout of former titlist Juan Carlos Reveco at The Forum on Superfly 2.
Not long after, Nietes vacated the belt to move up in weight to seek a title in a fourth weight division against the 27-year-old Palicte (24-2, 20 KOs), who is promoted by Roy Jones Jr. They will fight for the belt Japanese star Naoya Inoue gave up to go up in weight.
Nietes-Palicte will be a rare all-Filipino world title bout but the second in recent months. In 1925, then-flyweight world champion Pancho Villa, a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, retained his title by unanimous 15-round decision against countryman Clever Sencio in Manila.
There was not another world title fight pitting Filipinos until May 26 at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California, where junior bantamweight world titlist Jerwin Ancajas won a unanimous decision against mandatory challenger Jonas Sultan in the main event of the first Top Rank-promoted card to air exclusively on ESPN+.