Sanchez vs Fa results, scorecards and analysis

Frank Sanchez continued his rise towards the elite levels of boxing’s heavyweight division with a stoppage win over Junior Fa to kick off that enormous ‘Day of Reckoning’ card in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday night.

The 31-year-old ‘Cuban Flash’ (now 24-0) was expected to win impressively, and he eventually did that as his slick skills proved way too much for the limited Fa (now 20-3). Sanchez registered three knockdowns en route to closing the show in Round 7.

Cagey opening in Riyadh

Sanchez, hailing like ‘Canelo’ Alvarez from the all-powerful Eddy Reynoso stable, is an extremely gifted technical fighter and he was content to feel out Fa in the opening session, operating behind a darting jab for most of the round. Fa had said beforehand he needed to draw Frank into a brawl, but there was no sign of that early.

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Round 2 provided more of the same as Sanchez looked slick, while Fa did his best to up the pace. But it was Frank again carrying the day, setting up a whipping right with a stiff jab as the session ended.

Fa was a little more confident after coming through the first couple of rounds with little to worry him, but when he ventured forward more in the third Sanchez reminded him who was boss with a couple of lovely left hooks to the body. Then the Cuban produced a classy flurry to trouble Junior as the session drew to a close.

There was little between the two men in the fourth, with Fa again proving the aggressor and Sanchez content to fill the role of counter puncher, albeit with much the slicker of the work.

Fa ended the fifth with a little blood around his nose, courtesy of Sanchez upping the pace slightly with more classy counters, but the bout was still to really burst into life. It was scrappy stuff.

Sanchez ups the pace

The sixth did provide meaningful action, and it took a peach of a right from Fa landing on the chin of Sanchez to really wake up the circumspect Cuban star. After recovering fast, Frank registered the first knockdown of the fight with a cracking overhand right that decked Fa as the session drew to a close. He was up at eight but clearly hurt as the bell sounded.

Sanchez smelled blood after that knockdown, and he started to really go through the gears in Round 7. He provided another highlight-reel knockdown early in the session as a peach of a right was followed by a flurry which sent Fa to the canvas again. Junior again beat the count, but he was now on wobbly legs.

Fa was no longer coming forward, instead he was trying to stay away from the marauding Sanchez. But the Cuban was not to be denied and he ended matters late in the round with a left followed by another picture-perfect right which decked Fa for a third time. He was up at eight but saved from further punishment as the bout was waved off.

Now Sanchez, ranked in the top 10 by all of the governing bodies, will look to move on to bigger and better things with a world title shot clearly on his radar at some stage in the near future.