We got something of an upset earlier today in Bolton, England, as Ricardo Sandoval stopped Jay Harris in the eighth round, winning their IBF flyweight eliminator and moving into position for a shot at the title held by Sunny Edwards.
Sandoval (19-1, 14 KO) certainly wasn’t a huge underdog, but he was less tested than Harris (18-2, 9 KO), and going on the road as a 22-year-old. But he had a good strategy of implementing body work — saying after that he saw in Harris’ loss to Julio Cesar Martinez that he could be hurt to the body — and dropping Harris two times on body shots, both knockdowns coming in what proved to be the final round.
Sandoval didn’t have it all his way, mind you, and Harris tested his mettle after a somewhat slow start, having some good moments in the fight before Sandoval’s power took over. Harris tried to throw back with that same fire, but Sandoval was better equipped for anything approaching a slugfest.
On the undercard, Paul Butler (33-2, 15 KO) had a fairly tough time with late sub opponent Willibaldo Garcia (12-5-1, 6 KO), winning a 10-round split decision. When Garcia was drafted in to replace 429-year-old Joseph Agbeko, we said he looked like a guy who really might be better than his record, and that panned out.
Also on the undercard, Hosea Burton (26-2, 12 KO) knocked out Liam Conroy (18-7-1, 9 KO) in the sixth round; Gary Cully (13-0, 7 KO) stopped Viorel Simion (22-6, 9 KO) after three rounds; and journeyman Brett Fidoe (15-65-5, 7 KO) pulled a complete shocker, stopping Tyrone McCullagh (14-2, 6 KO) in the third round. Fidoe, 30, has long been known as one of the tougher, more solid of the UK journeymen, but he was definitely not brought in to win this fight.