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Andrew Cancio retains title with early knockout over Alberto Machado

The Cinderella story of Andrew Cancio continues.

The defending WBA super-featherweight champion, who works full time as a construction technician for the Southern California Gas Co., knocked out Alberto Machado, the man he first conquered in February, in the third round Friday night at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio.

Much like the first fight, Cancio (21-4-2, 16 KOs), who was born in Blythe, bested his Puerto Rican adversary in convincing fashion.

Cancio suffered three cuts around both of his eyes but continued a relentless attack to the body and head of Machado. In the first two rounds, Cancio looked every part the champion, fighting like a man on a mission to prove his victory four months ago was no fluke. He stood tall and went toe-to-toe with Machado. By the third round he had to overcome adversity, much like he did in first encounter with Machado.

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In February, Cancio, a big underdog, overcame anxiety, a cut and a knockdown en route to technical-knockout win in the fourth round.

“I was going for the head, and the body was there, so I took it,” said the 30-year-old Cancio. “I did this twice and you got to see the new and improved [me]. I’m here to stay, it’s not a fluke … [but] I’ll be back at work on Monday.”

Just like the previous fight, Cancio’s colleagues from the gas company made the cross-town trip to see him trade in his coveralls for trunks. The 130-pound fighter fought for the 11th time at the venue, which is 100 miles from Blythe, and improved to 10-1 at the arena in front of a raucous partisan crowd.

Before the fight, the younger Machado — who has a four-inch reach advantage and 3½-inch height advantage against Cancio — said he succumbed to the body attack of Cancio in February because he had a hard time cutting weight off of his 5-foot-10 frame while he was dealing with distractions stemming from surgery for his 1-year-old.

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“He’s a great champion and he showed that tonight,” Machado (21-2, 17 KOs) said after Friday’s fight.“I had an excellent training camp and he did his job. It was the risk I was willing to take in this rematch. Cancio did his thing tonight and now I have to make a decision [on moving up in weight].”

Cancio, who fights out of Oxnard, is now headed toward a mandatory title defense against Rene Alvarado (31-8, 20 KOs), a foe he knocked out in 2015.

Cancio, promoted by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, can also have a chance to unify titles against other 130-pound champions — such as Gervonta Davis, Jamel Herring, Tevin Farmer and Miguel Berchelt — if a deal can be procured with rival promoters.

“I’m ready for the other champions,” Cancio said.

The crowd went wild when Cancio’s hands were raised. In the venue’s hallway, a table filled with Cancio merchandise sold several hundred units of apparel, his manager said.

In the co-main event, Elwin Soto (15-1, 11 KOs) earned a technical-knockout victory over WBO light-flyweight champion Angel Acosta (20-2, 20 KOs) in the 12th round.


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