Joan "Sycuan Warrior" Guzman is pausing to pay tribute to a fallen warrior. The former WBO junior featherweight champ was stunned to hear of the shooting and death of his former ring rival and fellow Dominican, Agapito Sanchez. News reports say that Sanchez was gunned down by an off-duty policeman in Santo Domingo and other details are sketch. "I had a boxing feud and a ring war with Agapito," Guzman said from his New York City training base, "but he was a real man in and out of the ring.
He accomplished so much as a fighter and my heart goes out to his family and his many friends. He will be remembered as one of my country's greatest fighters." In the first ever Sycuan Ringside Promotions event, Guzman battered and bruised Sanchez for a one-sided TKO victory at the San Diego Sports Arena. Despite a torrent of bad words exchanged in the run up to the WBO 122-pound title bout, the two countrymen shared a warm embrace when it was over. "I hit Agapito with everything but the kitchen sink," Guzman said. "I was hurting my hands because he had such a strong chin. Let's face it, he was all heart in the ring. This is a terrible tragedy."
"It is a shame," Sycuan Ringside Promotions president Glenn Quiroga said, "because Agapito had earned so much respect. He was a brave boxer and a good man. We join Guzman in saluting Mr. Sanchez." "This guy was a macho guy in and out of the ring," Guzman manager Jose Nunez said. "All the Dominican people, including me, had much love and respect for Agapito. He has left us too soon."