Ricardo Sandoval put himself in the queue for a shot at IBF flyweight champion Sunny Edwards as he knocked out Jay Harris in the eighth round in Bolton.
The 22-year-old from California dropped Harris – who went the distance with WBC champion Julio Cesar Martinez last year – twice in the eighth round, both times with body shots.
“We had a plan,” Sandoval said. “We knew from the Martinez fight that the body work was hurting him, we practiced that a lot and we showed it in the ring.”
Until that point it had been competitive. Sandoval started the sharper, but Harris had plenty of success from the third round onwards as he dragged the American into a fight.
In the sixth, things seemed to turn firmly for the Californian as he began to land heavy shots and Harris was cut around his left eye. But he had a good start to the seventh, though, as he seemed to stagger Sandoval with a left hook, although Sandoval poured on the pressure late in the round as Harris struggled to get off the ropes.
But Sandoval opened up in the eighth round, landing a left hook that almost bent Harris in half as he crumbled to the canvas. He was up at eight, but Sandoval was on him. After missing with one big left, he found himself in the perfect position to throw another left to the body, which sent Harris down for the full count from referee Michael Alexander at 2:12 of the round.
“I feel amazing, I have worked so hard for the last two months, I was ready to go,” Sandoval said. “I always had confidence. I know a lot of people doubted me, but I trained hard, I had a lot of experience in the amateurs and I got good sparring.
“In the future I hope I can be one of the top fighters in the game.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.