MINNEAPOLIS – Jose “Tito” Sanchez and Ariel De La Torre gave fans who packed The Weapon more than the value of their money on Saturday night.
Sanchez and De La Torre fought swiftly for nearly eight total rounds in a fantastic heavyweight fight that Sanchez won by unanimous decision on the non-televised portion of the Stephen Fulton-Daniel Roman sub-card. Sanchez won their fight between 8-0 prospects with 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 tied with several hard left hands in the eighth round, but De La Torre continuously fired back with shots fired of his own that prevented Sanchez from taking advantage of his momentum. By then, Sanchez seemed to be pulling away from his tough opponent.
Sanchez’s right hook held De La Torre to the ropes for the second half of the seventh round. Sanchez’s left hand initiated a fun exchange a few seconds before the seventh round ended.
Sanchez blew De La Torre with a right hook early in the sixth round, but De La Torre took it well and kept throwing punches. Sanchez began to steadily land the shields later in the sixth round, when De La Torre was not 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, when Sanchez and De La Torre pounded away at each other with hard head and body punches. Sanchez got a left hand that made De La Torre hold him for several seconds before the fifth round ended.
De La Torre and Sanchez went at it inside during a closely contested fourth round. Neither fighter gave an inch during those action-packed three minutes.
Sanchez appeared to stun De La Torre with his right hand early in the third round. De La Torre blocked body shots better during that round and landed a left hook up that knocked Sanchez off balance in the final minute of the third round.
De La Torre and Sanchez went toe-to-toe at a brisk pace for most of a competitive second round. De La Torre fought effectively from his back foot for most of that round, but Sanchez got hard shots to his body by pressing the action.
In the previous fight on Saturday night, Travon Marshall appeared well on his way to a fast knockout, just like most of the prospects that resulted before his fight.
The 21-year-old welterweight prospect dropped Marcus Washington in the first round, but Washington was cunning, resilient and got enough left-handed hands to give Marshall something to think about in the following rounds. Marshall dropped him again with his right hand late in the fifth round, however, before brutally knocking Washington unconscious with a left-right-left combination that left Washington under a bottom rope near Marshall’s corner in the sixth round.
Referee Luis Pabon immediately swung an end to their fight after Washington fell 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 within the distance for the first time as a professional.
In the bout ahead of Marshall’s victory, 19-year-old junior lightweight prospect Demler Zamora scored a second-round, technical knockout victory over Raul Chirino.
Zamora (9-0, 8 KOs), a southern foot of Las Vegas, dropped Chirino (19-15, 12 KOs) once in the first round and twice in the second round. The official time of the stop was 1:43 of the second round.
Chirino of Miami lost in the distance for the 11th time in eight years as a professional.
Earlier on Saturday, junior lightweight prospect Malik Warren did a quick job of traveler Pedro Hernandez on Saturday.
The undefeated Baltimore native landed a left hook to the body that caused Hernandez of Colorado Springs to take a knee at a neutral angle during the first round. Hernandez tried to get up, but their planned six-round fight ended 1:59 in it.
Warren improved to 7-0 and recorded his sixth knockout. Hernandez (7-12-1, 2 KOs, 1 NC) lost five straight fights, four in a row by knockout.
In the previous bout, Kazakh middleweight Abilkhan Amankul made his professional debut when the southbound stopped Devontae McDonald with a body shot during the third round of a scheduled four-round.
Amankul, a 2021 Olympian, landed left on McDonald’s body, causing him to take a knee. Their fight ended at 1:19 of the third round because McDonald (1-1, 1 KO) could not continue.
Three other prospects of Kazakhstan won quickly by knockout or technical knockout before Amankul succeeded in his first professional fight.
Veltero 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 Alexis Salido of Mexico (2-3, 1 KOs) by a technical knockout 55 seconds into the second round. Super middleweight Bek Nurmaganbet (7-0, 5 KOs) got the show started with a two-round stop by Khainell Wheeler (7-2, 6 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer / columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.