Welterweight prospect Jeovanny Estela (11-0, 3 KOs) will make his twelfth outing as a professional this Friday night, live on CBS Sports Network from the Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando, Florida. Estela will be the co-feature on BoxLab Promotions‘ “Night of Champions” (9-11 PM ET) as he squares off against undefeated prospect Chris Thompson (9-0, 6 KOs).
Dressed in a T-shirt adorned with the colors of Puerto Rico, Estela was in good spirits as he Zoom talked to NYFights about his career and upcoming fight against Thompson.
Who Is Jeovanny Estela?
Jeovanny “El Rayo” Estela, 22, was born and raised in Orlando, Florida, and started boxing when he was eight.
The three-sport athlete Estela and his father decided that he needed to focus all his concentration on one sport. Trained by his father and uncle, Estela fought seventy-eight times as an amateur and finished with a 67-11 record.
Estela refers to his team as “Team Familia” (Team Family) and credits them for his accomplishments in boxing.
Managed by Mike Leanardi and promoted by Boxlab Promotions, Estela made his professional debut in November 2020 and earned his first professional win at the Caribe Royale Resort.
So far, the Orlando native is undefeated and has a nice following of 300 to 500 fans that flock to the Caribe Royale to cheer on their hometown fighter. This Friday night will be Estela’s 9th bout at the Resort.
“My pro debut was special because it was my hometown in Orlando, and we packed the house with family and friends like we always do when we fight there. They put on very good shows there. We're blessed to have a good fan base here in Orlando,” he said.
His Height Stands Out
Inordinately tall for a welterweight, Jeovanny Estela gives fighters fits when he's in the ring. His height is an extra advantage added to his arsenal of boxing skills.
Estela describes himself as a boxer who can do everything in the ring. And for boxers that think he’s just another tall fighter that can be chopped down from the inside out, well, the Puerto Rican native has a whole different plan for them, he maintains.
“Yeah, I'm like six foot and a half. But I wasn't always this tall. When I was in high school, I was around 5’7”. I got this tall when I got out of high school. So that means when I was 5’7”, I had to bang on the inside because the other fighters were taller than me. So, I can fight inside, outside, lefty or righty. I’m a very adaptive fighter,” said Estela.
Estela is looking to fight opponents that will help him develop professionally, he stated.
In his last fight, Jeovanny Estela fought Saul Corral. Corral is a tough Mexican fighter who didn't come to lay down against the young Puerto Rican. Corral made things challenging for Estela in the opening stanzas of the fight.
During the fight, broadcaster Paulie Malignaggi criticized Estela for sitting on the outside too long.
However, in the later rounds, Estela adapted and started landing punishing combinations, varying shots to the head and torso of the Mexican native.
Jeovanny Estela is aware of some of the criticism regarding his height and power. However, he takes it in stride and says he and his team constantly strive to improve.
“I have a lot more experience because I have a good number of rounds under my belt for a fighter with 11 fights. I have three KOs, but what BoxRec doesn’t tell you is that in those eleven fights, eight or nine opponents have touched the floor. So, it's not that the power isn’t there,” said Estela.
What can fans expect from “El Rayo” when he squares off against Chris Thompson this Friday night?
“I looked at a couple of videos from him with my team. We're ready to do what my team and I have designed. We are also ready to adapt and take it round by round. I think this is a well-experienced fighter and my biggest test today. So, you can expect fireworks and a great boxing performance. Depending on how this fight goes, we'll be back in the ring shortly, maybe two to three months after,” he continued.
I asked Jeovanny why boxing fans should take an interest in him.
“They should watch me fight because as they watch the fight, they will see boxing IQ- lefty and righty switches- it's an all-around boxing clinic,” said Estela convincingly.
My Take: Jeovanny Estela is a solid prospect who can shake things up in the welterweight division as he develops.
He trains and spars with fighters like Xander Zayas, Christopher “Pitfuo” Diaz, and Nestor Bravo. That's a good company of boxers to be around and learn from.
Estela has good footwork, works off the jab, and knows how to make the necessary changes to adapt to what his opponent is doing like he did against Corral.
And when he sits down on his punches, he can hurt an opponent. In addition to being a good boxer, Jeovanny Estela is a good person.
He likes to volunteer in his free time at the local food pantry. He fell in love with that act when he accompanied his mother when she volunteered.
Estela has a great attitude, a million-dollar smile, and can fight.
Along with the support of his friends and family, Jeovanny has all the makings of being a future superstar. However, Chris Thompson doesn't plan on making things easy for the Orlando native.
Chris likes to move forward when he fights and throws each punch with bad intentions. I'm sure Chris's game plan will involve getting inside Estela's long reach and throwing hard hooks to the body.
However, fighting on the inside is something Estela is not afraid to do and can do, and if Thompson is not careful, he will find out exactly why they call Estela “El Rayo.”