Three future world heavyweight title contenders emerged from the Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder III Pay Per Per View undercard on Saturday night.
On an epic night of all top division battles, three men stepped closer to securing a shot at WBC champion Fury or multi-belt ruler Oleksandr Usyk.
In the co-main event, Frank Sanchez (19-0, 13 KOs) scored one knockdown on his way to a comfortable, unanimous decision win over Efe Ajagba.
Sanchez used his superior boxing skills to keep the hard-hitting Ajagba (15-1, 12 KOs) off-balance for the entire fight.
The “Cuban Flash” displayed his power as well, flooring Ajagba with a hard right in the seventh. A follow-up left hook which landed a tick after Ajagba’s knee hit the canvas
Ajagba made it to his feet and survived the round but never seriously threatened on his way to the first defeat of his career.
Sanchez said, “I knew I was going to win all the rounds because I’m much better than him technically. I knew that if I connected, he would fall and he did fall. My game plan was always to frustrate him and go in for the attack.”
In the only rematch below the main bout, Robert Helenius was even better against Adam Kownacki this time.
The rematch of their March 2020 slugfest which Helenius won via fourth-round TKO saw the Finn batter Kownacki throughout to induce a stoppage at 2:38 of the sixth round.
“I expected [this win] because, what does he have?” Helenius said. “Don’t get me wrong. He’s a good brawler, but I’ve been fighting brawlers for 20 years.
“I know how to deal with them, even if they are hitting me low or behind the head. That doesn’t bother me.”
Helenius used his height and length to box in the first, working the jab up and downstairs and briefly buckling Kownacki with a right toward the end of the stanza.
Kownacki came alive in the second and third, throwing punches in bunches but earned a warning for two low blows that sank Helenius to his knees.
The “Nordic Nightmare” took over from that point on, bloodying Kownacki’s nose and closing his left eye with thudding power shots.
The steady hammering continued until the sixth, when Kownacki landing another low blow. Referee Celestino Ruiz examined Kownacki as he warned him and decide to halt the action.
“Right now, I want to go home to my family,” Helenius said. “I’ve been away from them for four weeks. Then we can worry about what’s next.”
Finally, up and coming contender Jared “Big Baby” Anderson 10-0 (10 KOs) continued his rapid rise up the heavyweight ranks. He stopped veteran Vladimir Tereshkin (22-1-1, 12 KOs) at 2:51 of the second round.
“I was a little anxious in the opening round,” Anderson said. “My first pay-per-view card and all that.
“But I settled in and gave a great performance. I practiced what my coaches preached. On to the next one.”
Anderson dominated from the opening bell, landing at will. In the second, a series of well-placed power shots drove Tereshkin toward the ropes.
Top Rank’s heavyweight hope, who prepared with the headliner pre-fight, then unloaded on his defenseless opponent until referee Kenny Bayless mercifully stopped the fight.
“I got great work in the gym with Tyson Fury,” Anderson said. “Iron sharpens iron. Shout out to Toledo, my home. I hope I made the fans back home proud.”