NEW YORK – Zachary Ochoa had a tougher time with Angel Sarinana on Saturday night than most expected.
Ochoa opened up on Sarinana in the beginning of the first round, but Sarinana took those shots and quickly made their fight very competitive. Brooklyn’s Ochoa won a unanimous decision, yet he knew he had been tested by the determined Mexican veteran.
Ochoa raised Sarinana’s hand and walked him around the ring after Ochoa was announced as the winner by scores of 77-73, 77-73 and 76-74.
The 27-year-old Ochoa (21-1, 7 KOs) fought for the first time in 17 months. The junior welterweight has won five straight fights since suffering his lone loss, a technical-knockout defeat to Yves Ulysse Jr. in March 2017.
The 27-year-old Sarinana (10-10-3, 4 KOs) is 0-3-1 in his past four fights.
Ochoa and Sarinana spent much of an action-packed eighth round winging wild shots at one another that often landed. Earlier in the eighth round, referee Mike Ortega deducted a point from Ochoa for holding the hard-charging Sarinana.
Ortega took a point from Sarinana late in the seventh round for intentionally head-butting Ochoa while Ortega was trying to separate them.
Sarinana fell near Ochoa’s corner with about 40 seconds to go in the sixth round, but Ortega ruled it a slip. Ochoa blasted Sarinana with a right hand just before the sixth round ended.
A right hand by Sarinana knocked Ochoa off balance at about the halfway point of the fifth round. Ochoa landed several had right hands in the fourth round, but he couldn’t stop Sarinana from coming forward.
Ochoa opened a cut over Sarinana’s right eye in the third round. By then, seemed as if Ochoa would be in for a longer fight than he anticipated against an opponent who has been knocked out four times.
In the previous fight, New York welterweight Arnold Gonzalez stopped Traye Labby in the third round of a scheduled six-rounder.
Gonzalez (4-0, 1 KO) hurt Labby with a right hand when Labby (4-5-4, 3 KOs), of Pittsfield, Illinois, was backed in a neutral corner. He unloaded a barrage of unanswered punches that made referee Tony Chiarantano step between them to stop the fight at 2:07 of the third round.
In the first fight Saturday night, 19-year-old southpaw Francis Hogan won his pro debut by fourth-round knockout.
Hogan, of Weymouth, Massachusetts, drilled Oren with a right hook to the body that ended their fight at 2:11 of the fourth round. That shot left Oren on the canvas for a couple minutes before he could get up.
Oren (2-4), of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, lost a second straight fight inside the distance. He lost by knockout or TKO for the third time in six professional fights.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.