Santillan: ‘I Knew It Was Going to Be a Tough Fight with Solis’


Giovani-Santillan-and-his-support-group-pose-for-a-photo-after-his-victory-in-his-pro-debutGiovanni Santillan is gradually blossoming from a top-tier prospect, to a high level contender. His latest performance, an 8-round unanimous decision win over the power punching Luis Solis, only cemented his reputation as a future disruptor in the junior welterweight division.

Santillan (15-0, 8 KOs) was a mixture of style and substance during the defense of his NABF Jr. Championship that he won in August. Behind a steady, picture-perfect jab and a high guard, Santillan proved nearly unhittable through eight rounds.

“I’m a serious boxer that values hard work, determination, and discipline,” said the 22-year-old Santillan. “We had a great game plan and we stuck with it, and it turned into a sweet victory for us.”

Santillan, a southpaw from San Diego, pressured the taller Solis (14-5-4, 12 KOs) onto the ropes and into the corners throughout most of the 8-round fight. To score points, he mixed an effective right jab with a solid left hook. He was never in trouble during the first title defense, of any kind, in his brief, yet stellar career.

“I knew it was going to be a tough fight because Solis is a gamer and he’s known to be a fighter that never backs down,” Santillan said. “I just had to stick with what works and let my talent take over in the later rounds.”

“It’s no secret that we have high hopes for Giovani,” said Ken Thompson, president and founder of Thompson Boxing Promotions. “He’s a strong junior welterweight with some serious skills.”

Super bantamweight Isaac Zarate (9-1-1, 1 KO) showed why he is one of the hottest prospects in Southern California by dominating the previously unbeaten Fernando Samaniego (6-1-1, 3 KOs) through 8-rounds in the “New Blood” co-main event. The one-sided unanimous decision (79-73×3) win earned Zarate, a southpaw, the NABF Jr. Super Bantamweight Championship.

“It’s a great accomplishment, one that I will remember for a long time,” said Zarate, who is from the Los Angeles port city of San Pedro. “I figured Samaniego out early and was able to land combinations early. I timed his movements, worked my jab, and got the win.”

Featherweight Fernando Fuentes (5-3, 1 KO) of Hemet, Calif. earned his first KO win by knocking out Erick Aguirre (4-5-1, 2 KOs) of Tijuana, Mex. in the sixth and final round. In the third, Fuentes dropped Aguirre with a series of shots. Aguirre would beat the count, but he never looked the same after that. From that point forward, Fuentes slowly wore him down and finally poured it on late in the sixth to secure the knockout win.

Francisco Lapizco (7-0, 2 KOs) and Cesar Sustaita (3-1, 3 KOs), two promising light flyweight prospects from Mexico, produced a back-and-forth fight that featured two knockdowns and non-stop action. Sustaita struck first in the opening round with a counter left hook that dropped Lapizco. Lapizco shook it off, and in the second, delivered his own left hook that sent Sustaita airborne and onto the canvas.

Throughout the 4-round fight, Lapizco showed a stronger command of the ring, while Sustaita appeared to tire by the third. Lapizco capitalized on this and outworked Sustaita over the final two rounds. His favorite punch, a left hook upstairs, landed repeatedly. Lapizco takes home a unanimous decision win (38-36×3).

Thompson Boxing Promotions signed Lapizco to an exclusive promotional contract earlier this year.

In the opening bout, power-punching heavyweight prospect Mario Heredia (9-1, 7 KOs) of Ciudad Juarez, Mex. landed early and often against Roy McCrary (3-2, 3 KOs) of Las Vegas. Heredia won via unanimous decision (40-36, 39-37, 40-36).

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