Diego Magdaleno probably had a tougher time during his sparring sessions than he did in the ring Friday at Mandalay Bay.
The undefeated Las Vegas super featherweight had no trouble retaining his NABF title, knocking down Gilberto Sanchez Leon three times, twice in the first 49 seconds of the third round, to score an impressive technical knockout.
“Everything in the gym is supposed to be tougher,” said Magdaleno (19-0), who sparred with Jose Benavides to prepare for Sanchez Leon (29-10-2). “This was fun.
“The key was finding the range. Once I figured that out, I was fine.”
The title defense was Magdaleno’s first since winning the belt Jan. 22. But he showed no signs of rust as he executed the game plan perfectly, going to the body and then landing effectively to Sanchez Leon’s head.
He dropped Sanchez Leon in the second round with a right hand to the ribs after landing two lefts to the chin. That was merely a prelude for what was to come. Sanchez Leon barely had left his corner to start Round 3 when Magdaleno rocked him with another left and sent him back to his corner in a heap.
Sanchez Leon beat the count and made it back to his feet, but he clearly was done. A flurry of blows by Magdaleno sent him down again, and as Sanchez Leon was connecting with the canvas, referee Vic Drakulich waved it off.
“That right I hit him with in the second round hurt him,” Magdaleno said. “He wasn’t the same after that, and I just went out and finished him off.
“It’s not about the number of punches but the quality of punches. I thought I threw a lot of quality punches.”
Magdaleno’s younger brother, Jesse, outboxed Jonathan Alcantara and improved to 4-0 with a six-round unanimous decision in their featherweight bout.
Magdaleno got head-butted in his left eye during the early part of Round 3. But he worked through it and kept the pressure on Alcantara (4-4-2).
“Every fight is a learning experience,” Jesse Magdaleno said. “I learned that it’s not going to be easy every night and this guy was strong. I hit him with some good shots, but he had a strong chin.”
Also on the undercard, featherweight Juan Carlos Martinez outpointed Bernabe Concepcion to earn an eight-round split decision. Light heavyweight Mike Lee was tested for the first time but took a four-round majority decision from Gilbert Gastelum to improve to 4-0.
Las Vegas super lightweight Anthony Lenk improved to 11-1 with a fourth-round technical knockout of Martin Vierra, dropping him with a left hook to the body.