MINNEAPOLIS – Jose “Tito” Sanchez and Ariel De La Torre gave fans that packed The Armory more than their money’s worth Saturday night.
Sanchez and De La Torre fought at a fast pace for almost eight entire rounds in a fantastic featherweight fight Sanchez won by unanimous decision on the non-televised portion of the Stephen Fulton-Daniel Roman undercard. Sanchez won their battle between 8-0 prospects by scores of 78-74, 77-75 and 77-75.
Sanchez, of Cathedral City, California, improved to 9-0 (5 KOs). The Cuban-born, Mexico-based De La Torre slipped to 8-1 (6 KOs).
Sanchez connected with several hard left hands in the eighth round, but De La Torre continually fired back with flush shots of his own that prevented Sanchez from capitalizing on his momentum. By then, Sanchez seemed to be pulling away from his tough opponent.
A right hook by Sanchez backed De La Torre into the ropes during the second half of the seventh round. A left hand by Sanchez initiated an entertaining exchange a few seconds before the seventh round ended.
Sanchez blasted De La Torre with a right hook early in the sixth round, but De La Torre took it well and kept throwing punches. Sanchez started to consistently land the flusher punches later in the sixth round, when De La Torre wasn’t as active or as accurate as he had been in previous rounds.
The fan-friendly fifth round was a mirror image of the fourth round, as Sanchez and De La Torre hammered away at each other with hard head and body punches. Sanchez landed a left hand that made De La Torre hold him several seconds before the fifth round ended.
De La Torre and Sanchez went at it on the inside throughout a closely contested fourth round. Neither fighter gave an inch during those action-packed three minutes.
Sanchez seemed to stun De La Torre with a right hand early in the third round. De La Torre blocked body shots better during that round and landed a left hook up top that knocked Sanchez off balance in the final minute of the third round.
De La Torre and Sanchez went toe-to-toe at a fast pace for most of a competitive second round. De La Torre fought effectively off his back foot for most of that round, but Sanchez landed hard shots to his body while pressing the action.
In the previous fight Saturday night, Travon Marshall appeared well on his way to a quick knockout, just like most of the prospects who performed prior to his fight.
The 21-year-old welterweight prospect dropped Marcus Washington in the first round, but Washington was crafty, resilient and landed enough counter left hands to give Marshall something to think about during the ensuing rounds. Marshall dropped him again with a right hand late in the fifth round, though, before viciously knocking out Washington with a left-right-left combination that left Washington beneath a bottom rope near Marshall’s corner in the sixth round.
Referee Luis Pabon immediately waved an end to their fight once Washington went down for the third time. Their fight was stopped with exactly one minute to go in the sixth and final round.
Marshall, of Capitol Heights, Maryland, improved to 6-0 and recorded his fifth knockout. Washington, of Toledo, Ohio, slipped to 5-4, but he lost inside the distance for the first time as a pro.
In the bout before Marshall’s win, 19-year-old junior lightweight prospect Demler Zamora scored a second-round, technical-knockout victory over Raul Chirino.
Zamora (9-0, 8 KOs), a southpaw from Las Vegas, dropped Chirino (19-15, 12 KOs) once in the first round and twice in the second round. The official time of the stoppage was 1:43 of the second round.
Miami’s Chirino lost inside the distance for the 11th time in eight years as a pro.
Earlier Saturday, junior lightweight prospect Malik Warren made quick work of journeyman Pedro Hernandez on Saturday.
The unbeaten Baltimore native landed a left hook to the body that made Colorado Springs’ Hernandez take a knee in a neutral corner during the first round. Hernandez tried to get up, but their scheduled six-round fight ended 1:59 into it.
Warren improved to 7-0 and recorded his sixth knockout. Hernandez (7-12-1, 2 KOs, 1 NC) has lost five straight fights, four in a row by knockout.
In the previous bout, Kazakh middleweight Abilkhan Amankul won his pro debut when the southpaw stopped Devontae McDonald with a body shot during the third round of a scheduled four-rounder.
Amankul, a 2021 Olympian, landed a hard left to McDonald’s body that made him take a knee. Their fight ended at 1:19 of the third round because McDonald (1-1, 1 KO) couldn’t continue.
Three other prospects from Kazakhstan won quickly by knockout or technical knockout before Amankul succeeded in his first professional fight.
Welterweight Ablaikhan Zhussupov (2-0, 2 KOs) stopped Mexico’s Edgar Ramirez (18-21-1, 14 KOs) at 2:08 of the first round.
Junior featherweight Yevgeniy Pavlov (7-0, 5 KOs) defeated Mexico’s Alexis Salido (2-3, 1 KO) by technical knockout 55 seconds into the second round. Super middleweight Bek Nurmaganbet (7-0, 5 KOs) got the show started with a second-round stoppage of Khainell Wheeler (7-2, 6 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.