Carrington steals the Top Rank show with thunderous, marvelous knockout win

PEMBROKE PINES, FLORIDA: Top Rank prospects Bruce Carrington and Richard Torrez Jr. kept their winning runs in tact with separate wins Saturday at the Charles F. Dodge City Center venue, just north of Miami.

Shu Shu looked sharp against Sanchez

Bruce Carrington stole the show with a brutal win over Jason Sanchez.

Carrington started sharp, fast, and boxed with poise as he powered his way through his featherweight opponent with punches that landed so flush they sounded like gunshots. Left hook; bang! Right hand; bang-bang!

Down went Sanchez, a fighter who had been in the ring with Zelfa Barrett, Adam Lopez, and Oscar Valdez but no one had beaten him by knockout.

Nobody, that is, except for 'Shu Shu' who showed an extraordinary finishing ability to put the 126-pound on notice in just his 10th fight —wow!

"This was a statement to the rest of the featherweight division," he told ProBox TV backstage. "I want all the smoke. It doesn't matter who it is.

"If I haven’t put the featherweight division on notice, I have now," he added. "2024 is going to be my year."

Shu shu — remember the name!

Richard Torrez Jr. scores another finish

Richard Torrez Jr. may fight in the heavyweight division but he fights like he's blazing his way through the lighter weight classes, as he pummeled Curtis Harper with unrelenting punch combinations throughout the first and second round.

There was a clear difference between the comparatively sluggish Harper, who weighed 273.9-pounds, and Torrez who, at 230.8-pounds was light on his feet, and could spring into action by darting in and out of range, throwing shots from mid-range like a southpaw jab to both the head and body, one-twos, and powerful left hands over the top.

Torrez began the third round with a four-punch flurry to Harper's head, got caught with the occasional Harper bomb, but was never deterred from maintaining an attack-happy strategy and relying on heavy hits.

Though Torrez began the fight with impressive output and activity, he never waned and, if anything, increased the tempo in the fourth — particularly when he backed Harper into his blue corner and could just use his opponent as a heavy bag for target practice. The only negative to this work, for Torrez, was that he was occasionally vulnerable to the counter punch; something Harper landed every now and then, which a greater opponent could utilize in a more brutal fashion again and again.

Torrez picked his shots more in the fifth, relying on single shots rather than flurries.

Then, in the final round — the eighth — Torrez saved his best for last when he, once again, backed Harper into the blue corner and just pounded him with single shots, with one-twos, and with such venom that he punched the mouthguard out of his jaw and into the crowd. Oh!

That seemed all the referee needed to step in and stop the bout, to keep Torrez's knockout run in tact, as he advanced his record to 8 wins (8 KOs).

Quality scraps and performances filled the undercard

Jahi Tucker escaped the ring with a majority draw when he fought Francisco Daniel Veron in the final prelim before the main ESPN+ broadcast. Though Tucker wasn't too far out of his depth in the junior middleweight bout, Veron had arguably done enough to advance his record with a win but left the ring with the draw.

Rohan Polanco may well be another red hot Top Rank prospect set to shine in the coming months and year as he boxed well with piston-like power punches to defeat the awkward and tricky Keith Hunter, who had leverage and range with a height and reach advantage.

Polanco prevailed in the sixth round by way of technical knockout, much to the chagrin of Hunter who charged at the referee Christopher Young to protest the stoppage.

Former Olympian Tiger Johnson threw an array of slugs at, and exchanged heavy body shots with, teak tough Mexican opponent Jimmer Espinosa in the second fight of the night, winning a split decision after the eight-round distance.

Espinosa showed, despite being the B-side, he's no easy work for any A-side as he landed thudding right hands over the top, and made the American work hard for his win by shaking off and smiling at the Top Rank star's best hits, stepping forward, and always trying to find a way in rather than turn up simply for the check.

Victory advanced Johnson's record to 11 (5 KOs). He remains undefeated.

Earlier in the night, Damian Knyba extended his unbeaten record to 13 wins (7 KOs) with a unanimous decision win over Michael Coffie.