Talk is Giovani Santillan belongs on that top contender list

What a performance Giovani Santillan delivered on Friday night, October 15, 2021 at The Pechanga Arena in Point Loma! Since the judges’ scorecards are the best indicator of a boxer’s performance, we’ll begin there. Judge Edward Hernandez Sr. had Santillan winning 99-91 while the other judges, Judge Lou Moret and Hall of Fame Judge Alejandro Rochin had the same 100-90 scores favoring Santillan to make it unanimous.

                                                                                           Giovani Santillan’s powerful uppercuts came at Angel Ruiz from every imaginable angle.Santillan ended up pitching himself a shutout over his 24-year-old rival, Angel Ruiz of Los Angeles, who stood 5’10” tall (two inches taller than Santillan) with an almost 5 inch reach advantage. With Ruiz’s loss, he now goes to 17-2 with 12 KOs, while Santillan improved to 28-0 with 15 KOs.

This is what a hometown advantage looks like. This group of Giovani Santillan’s past and present boxing students gathered around Santillan for one of those classic photos with their popular coach. It’s likely similar photos were taken in both the Kearny Mesa and La Jolla locations where he has taught even more students.

In answer to that query, “Do you think Giovani Santillan, who lives in San Diego, benefited from his hometown advantage on Friday night?” In regards to the officiating? No way! Only Hall of Fame Judge Alejandro Rochin with his impeccable reputation lives close and that’s in Chula Vista. Did Santillan gain an advantage from the packed house of rabid fans who were cheering non-stop? That’s a given! Especially after they saw the shorter Santillan begin to dominate the taller and longer armed foe right after the opening bell, right up until the final bell.”

How long do you suppose it will be before we’ll hear those Boxing Commentators making their comparison between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) and Giovani Santillan? Canelo is two plus years older and like Canelo stands 5’8″ tall. The only major difference other than their fighting styles? Canelo is a righty and Santillan is a southpaw. Also, Canelo now fights in the higher weight divisions of both super middleweight and light heavyweight and hasn’t fought in Santillan’s weight class in over 11 years. In other words it would be quite a strain for Alvarez to roll back the clock in order to fight his friend. Santillan has for a very long time maintained his fighting weight at 147 lbs. He is and will likely remain a Welterweight. Alvarez, who’s present fighting weight is between 160 and 168 lbs., would be asking himself to lose 21 pounds in order to fight Santillan.

How did our local hero get involved in the sport? Like most youngsters, Giovani’s father encouraged his son to start early at the age of six with the well respected trainer Juan Estrada who at the time was also teaching his son Angel Estrada to box. After awhile the instructions were coming from many sources. He later trained downtown at the Undisputed Fitness Gym on 16th & K Streets. Soon after, he got himself invested in competing in USA Amateur Boxing Events where he, as a southpaw, began to dominate the competition.

Along the way came the availability of Danny “Dynamite” Perez of Carlsbad, Calif. (34-8, 17 KOs as a Professional) who was often in the news in regards to yet another big fight against such notables as Craig McEwan, Erislandy Lara, Carlos Molina, Julius Cesar Garcia, Grady Brewer and Antonio Margarito. And so, the two hooked up on a more or less permanent basis at the Art of Eight Gym in Kearny Mesa. After a few years, there was Santillan, now a Professional, teaching his own Boxing classes. After a change in ownership at the Art of Eight, Santillan became The Boxing Club’s head boxing coach and taught classes at their brand new Downtown facility in San Diego’s East Village.

Then, for a while, friends were uncertain about Giovani’s future. Was it poor management or a lack of interest holding him back? He was no longer being given an opportunity to showcase his talent locally and instead the majority of his fights were fought in far off Ontario, Calif. He was still defeating everyone placed in front of him, but his progression was now at a snail’s pace. There was no real feedback. Locals had no handle on his progress. That’s when a Promoter like Bob Arum came to the rescue. Arum recognized Giovanni’s potential and started pulling the right strings.

It appears Giovani is now working with all the right people, making the proper connections and getting to train with people like Robert Garcia proved to be a big plus for this Angel Ruiz fight.

After his victory over Ruiz, it now appears Giovani’s dreams will coming to fruition and after giving a masterful performance on ESPN+, all of Boxing, East Coast to West Coast, was introduced to our local hero. The notion that Santillan has tirelessly remained focused on his lifelong dream (for 20 years), that alone informs the Boxing Public of his higher aspirations.

In Friday’s co-Main Event, we witnessed the almost, non-stop battering of the 24-year-old, 5’6″ tall welterweight Joet Gonzalez (white trunks) from Glendora, Calif. With his onesided loss to Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete, Gonzalez’s record dropped to 24-2 with 14 KOs. From the opening bell, Navarrete (red trunks) from San Juan Zitlaltepec, Distrito Federal Mexico was all business and never took his foot off the accelerator to earn his latest Unanimous Decision victory and improve his record to 35-1, 29 KOs.

Back and forth they went clobbering each other until someone’s white shorts were ultimately pink and red from all the blood that came dripping down from this nasty gash on Gonzalez’s right cheek.

For the fans who like blood and non-stop action, they certainly got their moneys worth on Friday.

At the end of this non-stop battle, both men showed their mutual respect. The winner was clear as the victorious Mr. Navarrete threw almost 300 more punches than his badly beaten opponent Joet Gonzalez whose priority throughout involved pressing the action.

During the interviews after the fight, the victorious Emanuel Navarrete stated he found Joet Gonzalez’s tactics difficult to explain. Those bruises on his face spoke volumes.Emanuel Navarrete’s lighthearted interviews with Boxeo & Fino Boxing worth a look.

                                      The results from the remaining five bouts of October 15, 2021 at the Pechanga Arena in Point Loma, San Diego, Calif. are as follows:In Bout #5, an 8 round lightweight match, it was the 5’6″ tall, 24-year-old southpaw Henry Lebron (left) coming to San Diego from far off Aguadilla, Puerto Rico to improve his record to (14-0, 9 KOs). The polished Lebron put on a masterful performance in his bout with the 5’8″ tall Manuel Rey Rojas of Dallas Texas, who now goes to 21 wins with 6 losses and 6 knockouts.

In Bout #4, an 8 round welterweight match, the 26-year-old Lindolfo Delgado (left) from Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico improved his record to (14-0, 12 KOs) while maintaining complete control in his eight round match versus the 6’1″ tall, 29-year-old Juan Garcia Mendez of Mexicali, Baja Calif., Mexico who with this current loss now goes to 21-5-2 with 13 KOs.

In Bout #3, the 5’11”, 73″ reach, 32-year-old super middleweight Darryl “Chiseled” Jones (left) came up short and dropped to 4-3-1 with 2 KOs after losing a six round unanimous decision to the still unbeaten, 6’1″ tall southpaw Javier Martinez (right)(5-0 with 2 KOs) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Bout #2 featured two 18-year-old Bantamweights. The 5’5″ tall, 118 lb. Floyd “Cashflow” Diaz who did just enough to gain the victory and improve his record to 3-0 after getting the best of the 116¼ lb., 5’9″ tall, 69½″ reach Jose “Fosforito” Ramirez from Tucson, Arizona who’s record then went to 1-1 with 1 KO.

In Bout #1, we saw the 6’9″ tall, 85″ reach, 262¼ lb. majestic Antonio Mireles from Des Moines, Iowa having absolutely no trouble at all defeating the 6’1″ tall, 314 lb., 80″ reach Demonte “Sugar Bear” Randle from Texas City, Texas who he stopped at the 2.07 mark of round one to win in his Pro Debut. With Randle’s loss, plus his three embarrassing drops to the canvas, the 32 year-old, who’s record now stands at 2-2, should seriously consider an alternate sport.

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