Wednesday, March 22, 2023  |



Sammy Valentin stops Alejandro Barboza in five


Welterweight Sammy Valentin suffered the first loss of his pro career during the summer, but he wasn’t going to let that setback define his career.

Valentin rebounded from defeat in impressive fashion, stopping Alejandro Barboza in the fifth round late Friday night at the Osceola Heritage Center in Kissimmee, Florida.

Both fighters had their moments during the first two rounds when Valentin suddenly dropped Barboza with a combination midway through the third. Valentin scored another knockdown at the end of the round, this time with a right hand to the head.

Barboza tried to mount some offense in Round 4, but Valentin countered effectively, breaking his opponent down with combinations to head and body.

With less than a minute remaining in Round 5, Valentin dropped Barboza for a third time with a barrage of blows. Barboza beat the count, but the follow-up assault left him trapped and helpless in a corner and forced referee Frank Santore to stop the fight at 1:14.

“Every fight is a learning experience,” said Valentin during his post-fight interview. “I learned from (the Santillan) fight. I went back to the drawing board and corrected my mistakes. It’s still a learning process.”

The 23-year-old Valentin, who is of Puerto Rican descent and resides in the Tampa area, was stopped in his previous bout at the hands of unbeaten welterweight Giovani Santillan in July.

Barboza (11-1, 7 KOs) was fighting for the first time outside of Mexico.


Junior lightweights Hairon Socarras (16-0-3, 11 KOs) and Gabino Cota (19-8-1, 17 KOs) fought to a six-round majority decision draw.

One judge scored the bout 59-55 for Socarras, while the other two judges scored the bout 57-57.

Middleweight Esquiva Falcao (19-0, 13 KOs) stopped Jose Miguel Fandino (11-4, 7 KOs) in the seventh round. Falcao is promoted by Top Rank.

Junior bantamweight, and 2016 U.S. Olympian, Antonio Vargas (5-0, 3 KOs) claimed a one-sided decision over Jonathan Garza (6-1, 1 KO). All three judges scored the bout 60-53 in favor of Vargas, who is also promoted by Top Rank.

Lightweight prospect Aidar Sharibayev (7-0, 6 KOs) of Kazakhstan stopped former world title challenger Daulis Prescott (31-6, 23 KOs) in the opening round.


Francisco A. Salazar has written for since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper,, and He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing


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On the cover this month: Mikey Garcia