Saul ‘The Beast’ Sanchez lived up to his pre-fight promise of not allowing matters to go to the scorecards.
A statement-making performance was offered by the streaking bantamweight, who scored a stunning first-round knockout of unbeaten Ja’Rico O’Quinn in their ShoBox main event. Sanchez floored O’Quinn three times in forcing the stoppage at 1:58 of round one Friday evening at Central Park Community Center in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
Sanchez told anyone who would listen that he was a changed fighter since returning to head trainer Manny Robles following the lone loss of his career more than two years ago. It has showed in elements during his current win streak, though yet to come versus the type of opposition to confirm that the 24-year-old from Pacoima, California is ready to advance from prospect to contender.
O’Quinn was supposed to provide a test but never had a chance to get his offense untracked. The Detroit native hadn’t fought since the pandemic, entering the ring for the first time since last February but brimming with confidence and ready to fight.
Or so he thought.
Sanchez went on the attack early, timing the faster O’Quinn and landing with right hands. The fight took a dramatic turn one minute into the main event as Sanchez connected with a left hook to send O’Quinn to the canvas in a heap.
O’Quinn beat the count but never able to punch his way back into the fight. Sanchez continued to press, scoring the bout’s second knockdown courtesy of a right hand at center ring.
The end seemed near, with O’Quinn (14-1-1, 8KOs) running out of ring space and unable to defend himself. Sanchez rocked the unbeaten boxer with a right hand, kicking off a six-punch flurry capped by a left hook and right hand to force the third and final knockdown of the night. Referee Gary Ritter immediately halted the contest, providing Sanchez (17-1, 10KOs) with his fifth consecutive win which includes three first-round knockouts in his last four fights.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox