Nico Ali Walsh wanted to take care of his last piece of unfinished business before moving on to six-round bouts.
It was mission accomplished for the grandson of the late, legendary Muhammad Ali, who knocked out Topeka’s Reyes Sanchez in the second round of their rematch. A left hook to the body put Sanchez (7-3, 3KOs) down for the full ten count at 2:45 of round two Saturday evening at Pechanga Arena in San Diego.
Ali Walsh entered the rematch with his third trainer through six pro fights, working for the first time with Kay Koroma. The unbeaten middleweight fought with poise in the opening round, shooting his jab upstairs and to the body as he effectively kept Sanchez on the outside. Sanchez was able to come on strong in the final two rounds of their first fight but struggled to get his offense untracked at the start of their rematch.
Sanchez landed a right hand early in round two, his first telling blow as Ali Walsh had a brief defensive lapse. Ali Walsh shook off the blow, landing a right hand before turning to the jab. Sanchez kept his distance in minimizing a right hand that otherwise landed clean, but managed to walk directly into a left hook. Ali Walsh cranked a left hook to the body, with a follow-up shot sending Sanchez to the canvas.
It was enough to end the fight, allowing Ali Walsh to leave the ring having stopped every opponent he’s faced to date. The first fight remains his lone pro contest to go to the scorecards, a win he described as his worst performance to date. It was by design that he took the rematch to the same arena that saw his grandfather suffer a broken jaw in a points loss to Ken Norton in the first fight of their trilogy nearly fifth years ago.
Ali Walsh improves to 6-0 (5KOs) with the win, with the plan to fight in a six-round affair in his next contest. The third-generation boxer previously told BoxingScene.com of a fight in the United Kingdom later this year, clearing off another bucket list item.
Headlining the show, WBO featherweight titlist Emanuel Navarrete (35-1, 29KOs) attempts his third title defense as he faces first-time title challenger Eduardo Baez (21-2-2, 7KOs).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox