Giovani Santillan defeats former champ Tony DeMarco to remain undefeated at 26-0

It had been touch and go for Giovanni Santillan (right) keeping pace with the slick veteran, former Lightweight World Champ Antonio DeMarco (left), who as expected incorporated every trick in the book, every sleight of hand, to give Santillan his toughest test to date.

It all happened Tuesday evening, June 16, 2020, at the fanciful MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas with ESPN Sports supplying their live feed to all, especially us frantic San Diego boxing fans who had to be glued to this ESPN Sports Broadcast of the five Pro Boxing Bouts inside what ESPN Sports has now labeled “The Bubble”. With the most talked about matchup being San Diego’s Giovani “Gallo de Oro” Santillán, 25-0 with 15 knockouts facing another local favorite Antonio “Tony” DeMarco (33-8-1 with 24 KOs) who lives in Tijuana but has been known to train locally at both the Bound Boxing Academy in Chula Vista and the Marron Boxing Camp in Lakeside.

Here’s a wide angle view of the converted conference room inside the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, where these upcoming boxing shows will now take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays of each week.
The decisive question of “How much power is behind each blow?” comes into play when you’re watching a boxing match on TV or relaying your opinion about who is being the more dominate or effective of the combatants. According to an article posted, ex-boxer/color commentator Timothy Bradley Jr., who lives in Palm Springs, Calif., will do his watching of these ESPN Broadcasts from a office in his home and then give his viewers his opinion as the fights progress, just as the other color commentators Andre Ward, etc. will be doing from a private suite inside the MGM Grand Hotel.

Here is one of the tell-tale messages from ESPN: “The trip for Bernardo Osuna will be an easy drive from Orange County, California to Vegas. When he arrives, it won’t be the same. The ESPN announcer will then be under the same protocol as everyone else: Arrive. Test. Quarantine. Work.

“During these matches: “He’ll also be alone. The rest of his usual team calling the fight for ESPN — play-by-play man Joe Tessitore and analysts Mark Kriegel, Andre Ward and Tim Bradley will be remote, each in their own separate location. A remote broadcast app will be set up in Osuna’s hotel room to allow for live TV segments. The crew has gone through preparatory runs, but Bradley knows it will be different because he won’t be able to see some of the things he catches live. He’ll miss hearing the punches.”

San Diego’s partisanship: Giovani Santillan (right), who not only trains but coaches at the TBC Gym (The Boxing Club) in San Diego’s Downtown East Village, won his very close, mixed decision bout over the former World Lightweight Champ Antonio “Tony” DeMarco. What was crystal clear? We firmly believe Santillan won the second, fourth, sixth, seventh, eighth and tenth rounds to put him ahead in the scoring 96-94.

Clashing with an opinion or two from the widely respected ESPN color commentators, former boxing greats, Andre Ward and Timothy Bradley Jr., made one nervous throughout the fight. As far as the official outcome, it turns out that Giovani Santillan did come away with the very close victory with scores of 96-94 twice and 95-95 to register the mixed decision victory.

(left to right) Tijuana’s Antonio “Tony” DeMarco battling San Diego’s Giovani Santillan.

Admittedly, the 34-year-old, 17-year veteran of 42 bouts with 32 victories, Antonio “Tony” DeMarco, standing 5’10” tall, with his 71″ reach, arrived at the venue in excellent shape and showed his guile versus the younger, 28-year-old Santillan. DeMarco’s goal of slowing the pace down or laying traps on the inside did work from time to time. Each time it did, Santillan slowed down and DeMarco had his opportunities to go with the short right hooks to the body or on occasion land an uppercut up the middle. One such uppercut bloodied Santillan’s nose. After all is said, it’s noteworthy to point out that DeMarco did battle the likes of Jorge Linares, Jesse Vargas, Omar Figueroa Jr., Rance Barthelemy, Adrien Broner and Edwin Valero before his tragic death. Demarco may have taken Santillan for granted.

Later, when asked about his weight distribution while throwing his punches, Santillan admitted he had been dealing with a recent injury in sparring. At such a late stage in the proceedings, there was no way he could pull out of the fight with DeMarco. As a consequence, he would have had to deal with the wrath of not one but two promoters, plus ESPN Sports. Santillan figured he could tough it out and still get the win. Fortunately, he was able to do just that. The judges declared Santillan their winner by a mixed decision, with two judges scoring the bout 96-94 for Santillan, while the third judge, Judge Dave Moretti scored the bout 95-95, a Draw.

With his victory, Giovani “Gallo de Oro” Santillan improved his record to 26-0 with 15 knockouts, while the loss leaves Antonio DeMarco at 33-9-1, 24 KOs.

In the Main Event, ESPN lucked out with this amazing victory by Mike “Magic” Plania over the favored Joshua Greer Jr. After two early knockdowns by Plania, it was the way in which Plania was able to hold on right up until the final bell against an incensed madman pulling out all the stops.

In that Main Event, ESPN had the 23-year-old, 5′ 5 1/2″ tall Mike “Magic” Plania from General Santos City, Cotabato del Sur, Philippines (24-1, 12 KOs), scoring one of his biggest victories to date by defeating the 5’4″ tall Joshua Greer Jr. (22-2-1, 12 KOs) of Chicago, who at the time was ranked #17 in the world. You would have thought Mike Plania’s knocking Joshua Greer Jr. off his feet twice, once in the first round and again in the sixth round would have been enough to insure victory but then you haven’t been in there facing anyone like Joshua Greer Jr. While two of the judges had Plania winning easily 97-91 and 96-92, guess who scored the Bout a Draw? Once again, it was Judge David Moretti becoming that one contrarian. He scored the bout 94-94, a Draw.

Joshua Greer Jr. may have finished the fight stronger but it wasn’t enough to overcome those two earlier 10-8 rounds. That being said, Plania, the Filipino standout did appear completely exhausted at the end of this bout after showing his backers his great staying power and the fact no one, not even a madman like Greer was going to be able to knock him off his perch.

High acclaim also goes to Mr. Greer. This 26-year-old native of West Side Chicago has spent the last few years inspiring young people in high-crime Chicago neighborhoods with the story of his rise from his own high-crime lifestyle. Greer himself survived two near-death experiences before turning 21 and been saved by his involvement in the sport of boxing.

Here we see the powerful Bobirzhan Mominov from Kissimmee, Florida by way of Kazakhstan, unloading one of his powerful right uppercuts to the chin of Cameron “Suave” Krael of Las Vegas.

In another key match-up, it was the undefeated super welterweight, 152 lbs., 5’9″ tall Bobirzhan Mominov from Kissimmee, Florida by way of Kazakhstan improving his record to 11-0, 8 knockouts after earning a six round unanimous decision over the somewhat lighter (147 3/4 lb.) 26-year-old, 5’9″ tall Cameron “Suave” Krael (17-16-3, 4 knockouts) from Las Vegas, Nevada by way of Honolulu, Hawaii.

Heavyweight Héctor Pérez (5’11” tall, 221 lbs., 29-years-old) from Tamarac, Florida by way of Puerto Rico (right), improved his record to (7-2, 3 KOs) after earning a unanimous decision victory over the 33-year-old, 250 lb., 6’1″ tall southpaw Juan Antonio Torres (5-3-1, 2 knockouts) from Cypress, Texas. Color commentator Mr. Timothy Bradley Jr. couldn’t let this one pass before scolding, “This is the most sloppiest heavyweight fight I’ve ever witnessed.” Torres, who no doubt likes to fight, also has a record of 0-1 in MuayThai and a record of 1-1 in Bare Knuckle fighting, had a buddy who emailed us regarding Bradley’s on-line rant and his use of “most sloppiest” heavyweight fight. “Mr. Bradley Jr. you need to go back to school and learn all about the use of double negatives and double positives. It makes you look like an ignoramus. Here’s another one you might want to use: “Pretty ordinary”, which in your case means “absolutely terrible.”

Super Middleweight Nikoloz Sekhniashvili (r) from Sherman Oaks, CA. goes to (6-0, 4 KOs) after scoring a unanimous decision victory over Isiah Jones (l) who drops to (8-2, 3 KOs).

In the final bout, the 5’8″ tall, 26-year-old, undefeated middleweight Nikoloz Sekhniashvili from Sherman Oaks, Calif. by way of Gori, Georgia improved to (6-0, 4 KOs) after winning a lopsided unanimous decision (60-54, 60-54 and 59-55) over the 25-year-old, 5’11” tall Isiah Jones from Detroit, Michigan who now goes to (8-2, 3 KOs). How lopsided was this one? According to the punch stats Sekhniashvili landed 121 punches to just 54 for Jones; jabs landed 26 to 15 and power shots landed 95 for Sekhniashvili and just 39 for Jones.

Is there anyone willing to dispute the claim that the MGM Grand, as far as venues go, isn’t extra special? Located on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada, this property now includes five outdoor pools, rivers with waterfalls covering 6.6 acres, to include a 380,000 square foot convention center, the MGM Grand Garden Arena, plus a one of a kind Spa.

As they say, “Not too shabby!”

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