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Oscar Valdez defeats Jason Sanchez
Oscar Valdez defeats Jason Sanchez via unanimous decision. PHOTO: Mikey Williams - Top Rank

Oscar Valdez earns wide unanimous decision over Jason Sanchez, Wants Leo Santa Cruz Next

Sanchez had spurts but Valdez’s experience paid key role in bout

In his first opportunity at a world title, Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Jason Sanchez fell to WBO Featherweight champion Oscar Valdez via a unanimous decision on Saturday night at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada.

“I may have won the fight but that doesn’t mean he’s an easy opponent,” said Valdez of Sanchez post-fight.

Sanchez came out very tense the first two round and drew air on a great deal of his power punches.

Valdez, in his second fight with the defensive minded trainer Eddy Reynoso, saw improvement in his ability to shrug off and block shots.

The first three rounds were carried by Valdez’s accuracy and power punches. Sanchez found a rhythm in the fourth, a round he won on two of the judges’ cards.

Within the first 10-seconds of the fifth round, the former Mexican Olympian would feint Sanchez out of position, allowing the champion to side-step to his left opening a space for a massive left hook that dropped Sanchez.

“I knew he’s a tough fighter but when I put him down I knew he wasn’t hurt. It was more of a flash knockdown,” said Valdez.

Oscar Valdez drops Jason Sanchez with a left hook at the start of the fifth round. PHOTO: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

“I knew I couldn’t go in there crazy…I felt his punches, I know he’s a hard-hitting fighter at any point he can change the fight.”

The seventh and tenth rounds were more competitive with Sanchez forcing much of the action even appearing to stagger Valdez.

“There were a couple of times he thought I (hurt) and he tried to come after me,” Valdez said of Sanchez’s advances. “I kept telling my corner, ‘I’m ok, don’t worry. I got this under control.’”

Every moment he appeared to be gaining steam, Valdez would us the jab to restore order.

“We knew the jab as going to be the key to success in this fight and we did it,” said Valdez. “It was a little bit complicated trying to hit him with the uppercuts–he has a good right hand and I didn’t want to get too careless.”

In the end the experience and pedigree of Valdez would be too much for Sanchez who was looking to become just the sixth New Mexican to win a major world title.

The judges awarded a lopsided decision to Valdez with the scores of 117-110, 118-109, 118-109. SWFight.com scored it 117-110 for Valdez.

Sanchez landed just 12% of his punches while Valdez landed at the much higher rate of 38%. There was a staggering difference in jab percentages with the champion landing 33% and the challenger just 4%.

The Sanchez camp was unavailable for a post fight interview.

About Jorge Hernandez

Jorge Hernandez is chief editor for SWFight.com, TV-Host of Combat Sports Weekly and Co-Host of Low Blow Radio. He can be reached on Twitter @JorgeDeBurque.