Tapia boxing card: Sanchez brothers triumph - Albuquerque Journal

Tapia boxing card: Sanchez brothers triumph

Combined, the boxing Sanchez brothers of Albuquerque have a record of 28 wins, six losses and one draw.

Together, they’re 12-0.

Jason and Jose Luis Sanchez, fighting on the same card for the sixth time but for the first time since 2016, both scored victories Friday night at a Tapia Promotions card at the Rio Rancho Events Center.

“It was a great experience,” Jason, the younger sibling by two years at age 28, said of once again fighting on the same card with his brother. “I’d been wanting to fight with him but never got the chance.

“… Both of us in the locker room, warming up, it was a good experience.”

Jose Luis said the reunion was “Awesome. And we both got the win, so even better.”

The battles were won in different ways.

In the night’s junior lightweight main event, Jason Sanchez (16-3-1, eight knockouts) defeated Rafael Reyes (20-16, 16 KOs) when the Mexico native and Clovis resident retired three rounds into a scheduled 10-rounder after aggravating an injury to his right hand.

Earlier, Jose Luis Sanchez (12-3-1, four KOs) defeated Reggie Harris Jr. (7-3, three KOs) by majority decision in a six-round junior-middleweight bout.

In the main event, Jason Sanchez had a tussle on his hands through the first two rounds against Reyes, who landed hard shots whenever his taller, more skilled opponent chose to stand and trade.

But when Sanchez moved laterally, landing his punches, then forcing Reyes to pursue him, the Albuquerquean had a clear advantage.

“(Movement) was really important,” he said. “I was listening to my corner, and they told me not to stay in front of him too much because we knew he was a little strong.”

In the third, Sanchez sent Reyes tumbling to the canvas with a picture-perfect left hook.

“It just happened,” Sanchez said. “I was throwing combinations, and the left hook happened to land.”

Reyes beat referee Rocky Burke’s count, but, at the end of the third, wincing in pain, said he could not continue. Through a translator, he said he’d fractured his right hand during a bout four months earlier in San Antonio, Texas.

In contrast, Jose Luis Sanchez’s bout against Harris went to the scorecards after six entertaining rounds.

One judge scored the bout 57-57. The other two scored it for Sanchez, 58-56.

The Journal also scored it 58-56 for Sanchez. But entering the fifth, after the harder-punching Harris appeared to take rounds three and four, things weren’t looking good for the Albuquerque fighter.

Sanchez, however, switched gears. Having taken punishment when standing in front of Harris, he used lateral movement — as his brother did against Reyes — to shorten and win the exchanges.

“I thought I was controlling the fight, because I was hitting him and moving,” Sanchez said. “Once in a while I’d stay in there with him and I’d exchange, but I feel like I had the better of it every round.”

Earlier on the card, Albuquerque welterweight Josh Torres (26-7-2, 13 KOs) defeated Donovan Estrella (13-3, four KOs) by second-round TKO after the Denver fighter suffered an apparent injury to his left clavicle.

Torres, the stronger of the two, had the clear advantage into the second round before Estrella sank to the canvas and pointed to his left collarbone.

Estrella beat referee Ray Chavez’s count, but then indicated he could not continue.

In the night’s co-main event, Kansas flyweight Nico Hernandez (10-0, four KOs), a 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, defeated Californian Gilberto Mendoza (19-14-3, 10 KOs) by eight-round unanimous decision.

In an eight-round junior lightweight bout, Pecos, Texas’ Abel Mendoza (34-0, 25 KOs) defeated Mexico’s Ernesto Guerrero (34-37, 23 KOs) by unanimous decision. Mendoza floored Guerrero twice en route to the victory.

In other bouts:

Sonya Dreiling (6-3, 2 KOs), Albertville, Ala., 164.4, defeated vs Albuquerque’s Jordanne Garcia (4-2-2, 0 KOs), 163.8, over four rounds by unanimous decision.

Jordan Gregory (2-3-3, 0 KOs), Albuquerque, 164.2, and Lorenzo Benavidez (3-5-2, 1 KO), Albuquerque, 168.8, fought to a four-round majority draw.

Taos’ Andres Rey (pro debut), 129, defeated El Paso’s Jesus Marin (0-2), 128.8, by four-round unanimous decision.

In a featured amateur bout, Nicco Tapia, the son of the late, legendary Albuquerque boxer Johnny Tapia, defeated Belen’s Christopher Lucero by unanimous decision.

Though the Gregory-Benavidez draw was popular with no one — not the fighters, not the fans — the outcome didn’t appear unreasonable.

The tall, muscular Gregory had defeated the short (5-foot-2) and (shall we say) roly-poly Benavidez by unanimous decision in August by catching his opponent coming in and moving laterally before Benavidez could apply pressure.

Friday, however, the same tactic was less successful, and Gregory was more stationary as the bout proceeded — leading to a four-round back-and-forth with Gregory landing more punches, Benavidez the more telling ones.

One judge scored it 39-37 for Gregory, two scored it even at 38. The Journal scored it 39-37 for Benavidez.

Rey made an impressive pro debut, flashing the skills that won him a state Golden Gloves amateur title in 2022.

“I wanted to get the knockout, but I still got the win,” Rey said. “A win is a win. … (Marin) was a tough dude, he can take a shot.”

Longtime Albuquerque pro Hector Munoz, one of Rey’s trainers, said his new pupil “can be great. … He’ll be ready for the next one, more confident and stronger.”

Dreiling, who had defeated Garcia by majority decision in 2019, made it unanimous this time. The judges’ scores were 39-37, 39-37 and 40-36.

Garcia might have secured another draw with a big fourth round, but it was Dreiling, the stronger of the two, who dominated the final two minutes.

FAMILY FRIEND: Actor Mickey Rourke, a close friend of the late Albuquerque world champion Johnny Tapia and Tapia’s wife, Teresa, was a guest at Friday’s card.

Teresa Tapia was the event’s promoter.

Rourke boxed professionally and compiled a 6-0-2 record, competing from 1991-94. He won a Golden Globe and was Oscar-nominated for his performance in the 2008 film “The Wrestler.”

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