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          Front Page




Sanchez Takes on Undefeated Fighter

By Mike Hall
Associate Sports Editor
    SANTA ANA PUEBLO— Troy Wilson, who has fought six times as a professional— all in the Atlanta area— is so far enjoying his first trip to New Mexico.
    He hopes to enjoy it even more tonight when he takes on Albuquerque's Ray Sanchez III (12-1, 10 KOs) for the World Boxing Council Youth welterweight championship at the Santa Ana Star Casino.
    And, fighting in Sanchez's hometown doesn't seem to be a problem, either. Wilson, originally from Guyana, said at Friday's weigh-in that he was undefeated in 25 amateur bouts. "Twenty of those were in foreign countries," he said. "I have no fear of going into someone else's back yard."
    Wilson said he ended his amateur career when he was 22. He's now 28 with a 5-0-1, one knockout record. "I tried a lot of different things, but no matter what I'd try, I'd come back to boxing. This is my destiny."
    Wilson is coming off his most impressive performance to date, a third-round TKO over Rodney Freeman (5-1). "On paper, he was supposed to beat me. But you're never going to beat me on paper, you've got to beat me in the ring."
    Sanchez, 21 and the title holder, is the obvious favorite. The Albuquerque boxer said he knew "nothing" about Wilson, but assumes he's "fast and a mover." Wilson agreed with that, calling himself a "boxer/puncher."
    Sanchez said he's expecting a tough fight. "He's 28, he's got mature strength. He doesn't want to lose that zero (on his record) and he's coming into my backyard to take my belt."
    Sanchez is dedicating the fight to Danny Romero Sr., his one-time trainer who is suffering from a hereditary liver disease. Sanchez was 10 when he first worked out under Romero. "He and his family are going through some real tough times," Sanchez said of Romero and his family, which includes former boxing champion Danny Romero Jr. "My prayers are with him."
    In the semi-main event, Albuquerque's David Martinez (12-0, 2 KOs) takes on Ruben Contreras (11-14, 4 KOs) of Juarez, Mexico.
    Seated by himself, cap pulled down over his head, in the Santa Ana arena, Martinez said, "The weigh-ins are the tough part. Then comes the boxing, the yelling of the fans. That's the reward. Even the fights are fun."
    Martinez will be moving up to 118, which he said was much easier to make than 115. "I'm a little bit older, more muscle. At 115 I was a walking zombie."
    A third title fight— for the WBC Mundo Hispano middleweight title— will be fought between Socorro's Joaquin Zamora (5-1-1, 4 KOs) and Elco Garcia (16-3, 6 KOs) of Durango, Colo.
    Zamora is an up-and-coming left-hander while Garcia, who often fights in New Mexico, is a tough veteran. It should be an interesting bout.
    Two other boxing matches round out the card: Jeremy De Los Santos (4-0, 2 KOs) of Roswell vs. Steve Valdez (20-33-4, 12 KOs) of Denver in a welterweight fight, and Monica Lovato (1-1) of Albuquerque vs. Valeria Flores (5-1) of San Antonio, Texas, will square off at bantamweight.
    There also will be three mixed martial arts bouts. The feature will be Carlos Condit (12-1) of Albuquerque vs. Will Bradford (5-4) of Dallas at 170 pounds.
   
Tonight
    Santa Ana Star Casino: Ray Sanchez III vs.Troy Wilson for the WBC World Youth welterweight title, David Martinez vs. Ruben Contreras for the WBC Mundo Hispano bantamweight title, four other bouts plus mixed martial arts. First bell 7 p.m., doors open 6 p.m. Tickets: Starting at $20 at Santa Ana Casino and starticketplus.com