Bantamweight contender Saul Sanchez stopped veteran gatekeeper Jose Estrella late Friday night at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, California.
Sanchez, who resides in the Los Angeles suburb of Pacoima, improves to 18-1, 11 knockouts.
The win over Estrella, which was fought at a contract weight of 122 pounds, was a stay-busy fight for Sanchez. The 24-year-old Sanchez was coming off a first round knockout win over previously-unbeaten Ja’Rico O’Quinn on a ShoBox telecast on September 24. In his previous fight on March 19, which headlined a Boxeo Telemundo card, Sanchez stopped once-beaten Frank Gonzales in the opening round.
Estrella was game throughout the fight, but Sanchez landed the more-thudding punches, particularly left hooks and right crosses to Estrella’s head. Sanchez continued landing one or two-punch combinations behind a consistent jab.
Midway through round 3, Sanchez landed a punch slightly below Estrella’s beltline, dropping him to one knee. Referee Raul Caiz, Sr. administered an eight-round, to the surprise of Estrella, who went down to one knee again. Estrella thought he beat the count as he stood up again, but Caiz waved the fight off at 1:36.
“I would’ve won either way,” said Sanchez after the fight. “He didn’t want to fight. On to what’s next for 2022.”
Sanchez, who is trained by Manny Torres, has now won his last six bouts since suffering the only loss of his career, by split-decision, to Puerto Rico’s Edwin Rodriguez in August 2019.
Estrella, who resides in Tijuana, Mexico, drops to 23-18-1, 16 KOs. He had won his previous three fights.
In a clash of unbeaten junior welterweights, Ruben Torres remained unbeaten, dropping Francisco Armenta twice en route to a knockout victory.
Torres, a resident of South Central Los Angeles, improves to 17-0, 14 KOs.
The 24-year-old Torres worked behind a consistent jab throughout much of the fight. Even as both fighters stood in the pocket, Torres landed the better exchanges, beating Armenta to the punch.
Moments into round 3, Torres dropped Armenta with a barrage of punches. Armenta was able to beat the count and fought back, but was dropped again later in the round by a straight right hand to the head. Armenta was able to beat the count and make it out of the round.
Torres ended matters the following round. Torres backed Armenta into a corner, unleashing a left hook to the head. Armenta slumped against the corner, falling to the canvas. He was able to beat the count, but his corner threw in the towel, prompting referee Rudy Barragan to stop the fight at 56 seconds.
“He was a little tough to read, but I stuck to the game plan,” said Torres, who is trained and managed by Danny Zamora.
Armenta, who is originally from Salvador Alvarado Mexico and now resides in Orange, California, drops to 12-1, 4 KOs.
Featherweight Brandon Benitez of Queretaro, Mexico dropped Anthony Chavez once en route to a unanimous decision victory. Scores were 79-72, 79-72, and 77-74 for Benitez, who improves to 18-2, 7 KOs.
Within the first 30 seconds of the opening round, Benitez landed a jab to the chin of Chavez, dropping him to the canvas. Chavez, who resides in nearby San Bernardino, was not visibly hurt, but more surprised as he looked off-balanced.
Benitez was the more-effective fighter between the two, connecting with combinations to the head and body of Chavez (9-2-1, 3 KOs) throughout much of the fight.
Bantamweight Manuel Flores knocked out Leonardo Torres of Matamoros, Mexico in round 4.
The southpaw Flores (11-0, 8 KOs), who resides in Coachella, California, dropped Torres with a right hook to the body. Referee Rudy Barragan counted Torres (10-15-1, 5 KOs) out at 2:50. Torres entered the bout unbeaten in his previous six bouts.
In the opening bout of the Thompson Boxing Promotions card, junior featherweight Ivan Zarate of nearby San Pedro improved to 3-0, 1 KO by stopping Arizona’s Roberto Rodriguez in the opening round. Zarate dropped Rodriguez twice before referee Rudy Barragan stopped the bout at 50 seconds.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for BoxingScene since September 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing