1998-02-08 Enrique Sanchez w pts 12 Rafael Del Valle, Isle of Capri Casino, Lake Charles, Louisiana, USA - WBA

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1998-02-08 Enrique Sanchez w pts 12 Rafael Del Valle, Isle of Capri Casino, Lake Charles, Louisiana, USA - WBA. Referee: Johnny Femia. Scorecards: 117-113, 116-111, 117-111. Contested for the title vacated by Antonio Cermeno both men were initially tentative, but the southpaw Sanchez (122) responded quicker, dropping Del Valle (122) with a short left to the jaw in round four before pounding out a points win. Del Valle was a disappointment, putting it down to similarity in style, while Sanchez proved to be too fast and hungrier than a 30-year old who had seen better days.

With Sanchez unavailable due to sustaining an injured jaw, Carlos Barreto outpointed Hector Acero-Sanchez over 12 rounds in a hastily arranged bout to win the vacant WBA ‘interim’ title at the Jose Beracasa Gym, Caracas, Venezuela on 3 October. The WBA had earlier stripped Sanchez when it was thought that his injury was going to keep him out of boxing for a long time, but reinstated him after he was declared fit to defend in December against Nestor Garza. Following that, Barreto would get his chance.