Luis Ortiz scores first round knockout on Saturday night

Top heavyweight contender Luis “King Kong” Ortiz (32-2, 27 KOs) impressed in his ring return Saturday night, knocking out Alexander “The Great” Flores (18-3-1, 16 KOs) in the first round of their FOX PBC Fight Night main event and on FOX Deportes from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

Returning to the ring after a loss to then heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder last November, Ortiz came out firing from the opening moments. The Cuban southpaw landed a series of jabs and a glancing left hand that forced Flores on the retreat early.

It was then a perfectly placed lead right hook to the body that would end the night early, as Flores folded from the shot to the ribs, giving Ortiz the victory at 45 seconds of the first round.

In the co-main event, rising heavyweight Frank “The Cuban Flash” Sanchez (16-0, 12 KOs) scored a fourth-round knockout over Brian Howard (15-4, 12 KOs), knocking him down three times on his way to the victory.

Sanchez showed improved aggression against Howard, stalking his opponent and forcing the action effectively from the outset. Late in round three, Sanchez broke through with a right uppercut that stunned Howard, before a left hook and straight right hand sent him to the mat.

Howard made it through the round, but in round four Sanchez put him down again with a left hook in the round’s opening moments. Sanchez’s third knockdown of the fight came on chopping right and left hands shortly after. A final flurry from Sanchez eventually forced referee Jerry Cantu to halt the fight 2:07 into the round.

Sanchez controlled the action throughout, out landing Howard 66 to 11, while connecting on 35% of his punches.

In another heavyweight attraction, unbeaten Michael Coffie (11-0, 8 KOs) delivered a TKO victory over veteran Joey Abell (35-11, 33 KOs) in the second round of their bout.

A veteran of the Marine Corps, Coffie connected with a perfect left hook to the body that ended the fight early in the second round. Abell appeared to injure his right bicep while throwing a punch, right before being hit with the hook that ended the fight when referee Rudy Barragan counted Abell out 49 seconds into the round.

“I shielded myself from a punch and I noticed he hit my guard without turning his hand all the way, so I just threw the body shot off of that and he went down,” said Coffie. “I wanted to show a lot tonight. I worked on setting traps in the gym. I saw that he was lunging a lot with his lead hook. So I was trying to sit back and get under that and throw an uppercut.”

In the opening bout, Puerto Rican Olympian Carlos Negron (22-3, 18 KOs) stopped Mexico’s Rafael Rios (11-3, 8 KOs) 2:33 into the second round. Negron hurt Rios with a big right hand early in the frame, eventually dropping him later in the round. While Rios got back to his feet, Negron continued to push forward until referee Rudy Barragan waived off the fight.

Photo: Sean Michael Ham/TGB Promotions