In his return to ShoBox: The New Generation, Saul Sanchez scored a first-round knockout to topple unbeaten rising star Ja’Rico O’Quinn in stunning fashion on SHOWTIME Friday night in front of an enthusiastic outdoor crowd on Main Street of the Rose District in downtown Broken Arrow, Okla.

Sanchez (17-1, 10 KOs), a once-beaten prospect who has fought four times since O’Quinn (14-1-1, 8 KOs) last entered the ring, started fast by flooring the Detroit native with a huge left hand just a minute into the opening frame of their bantamweight main event. O’Quinn, who last fought in January 2020 on ShoBox, was never able to recover from the initial knockdown as Sanchez overwhelmed the highly regarded prospect en route to his career-best victory.

“I just stayed calm and knew I had to work behind my jab but then I surprised him with my left hook and I saw that he got dropped and was hurt,” exclaimed the excited young prospect Sanchez. “That’s when I finished him. Honestly, I never envisioned the knockout that early. In the later rounds, yes. But not that early.

“This moment feels amazing. I made a big statement. He was undefeated and I was on the ‘B’ side. And now I move onto bigger and better things. I will fight anyone right now and I am going to work my way up to a world title. I want to fight again this year. I know I gained a few more fans tonight.”

Hailing from Pacoima, Calif. and trained by renowned trainer Manny Robles, Sanchez effectively eliminated O’Quinn’s ability to recover by landing a huge right hand to the temple that sent the unbeaten star to the canvas moments later. Referee Gary Ritter allowed O’Quinn to continue but Sanchez did not let up and delivered an onslaught of clean combinations that promptly ended the fight at 1:58 of the first round. Ranked ninth by the WBA at 118 pounds, the 24-year-old Sanchez has positioned himself to earn bigger opportunities in the exciting bantamweight division.

“I could feel something was wrong in the dressing room,” said the 26-year-old O’Quinn. “I didn’t even feel like warming up. I knew something wasn’t right and I tried to work past it, but it was not my night. He did what he was supposed to do. He was just the better man tonight and I have no excuses. I will be back. This is a temporary setback.”