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Mexican professional boxer Salvador Sanchez quickly rose to stardom behind his incredible performances in the ring. However, his promising career came to a sudden halt when he tragically died at age 23, leaving a considerable hole in the boxing community.

Salvador Sanchez’s boxing career

Star boxer Salvador Sanchez holds his fists up in the boxing ring
Salvador Sanchez had the chance to become an all-time great before his tragic passing. | The Ring Magazine via Getty Images

It didn’t take long for Salvador Sanchez to begin making his mark in boxing. After his first professional fight at age 16, he began to garner numerous wins against fellow Mexican fighters.

At age 18, Sanchez won his first title against Antonio Becerra in his 19th fight for the Bantamweight division. Although he fell short in a split decision due to inexperience, he kept chugging along. It would be the only loss of his career as he moved up to the featherweight division.

Sanchez continued to find success in that weight class as he defeated Felix Trinidad Sr. This helped him earn a title shot against Danny “Littel Red” Lopez, where he won the WBC and lineal featherweight championship. From that point forward, Sanchez successfully retained that title nine straight times.

During that span, he handed Ruben Castillo a loss in his first title defense, followed by wins against Juan Laporte, Roberto Castanon, Nicky Perez, and Wilfredo Gomez.

In total, this saw him win by knockout against four other members of the International Boxing Hall of Fame (Lopez twice, Gomez, and Amuzah Nelson). Sanchez had become a household name, but all of this came to an abrupt end.

Salvador Sanchez’s tragic death

Sanchez had firmly established himself as the man to beat in the featherweight division after numerous title defenses.

This led to Sanchez lining up for a rematch against Laporte. Previously, he’d beaten Laporte in March 1981 in a unanimous decision after 15 rounds to retain the WBC and lineal featherweight titles. Sanchez was coming off a TKO win over Azumah Nelson in July 1982. This pushed him to a 44-1-1 record.

The young boxer was training for his rematch, set for September 1982. Nearly a month before the match, on August 12, reports Marca, Sanchez died in a fatal crash accident along the federal highway between Queretaro and San Luis Potosi, Mexico. He’s been driving his Porsche 928.

This was a crushing blow to Sanchez’s fans. In 1991, he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.


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