Valentin and Santillan Put Undefeated Records on the Line
By: James Cullinane
Welterweights Clash July 7 in Tampa for WBO NABO Championship
Undefeated Sammy ‘Hurricane’ Valentin (12- 0; 9 KO) puts his WBO North American Boxing Organization (NABO) Welterweight title on the line when he faces undefeated Giovanni “Gallo de Oro” Santillan (21-0; 11 KO) in the main event of All-Star Boxing’s ‘Red, White and Boom’ boxing card July 7 in Tampa, Florida.
In the final presser before the fight, both fighters appeared relaxed ahead of their contest this Friday. “Each fight has its own challenges and Giovanni is a good fighter,” Valentin replied when asked about facing another undefeated boxer in Santillan. “But we had a good camp and I’m ready.”
“We’ve been training hard for this fight,” Santillan added when asked his thoughts on the matchup. “It’s going to be a great fight.” Santillan, who traveled to Tampa from San Diego, was later asked about fighting away from home and, in light of the Pacquiao/Horn decision less than a week ago that some saw as swayed by the hometown crowd, the possibility of losing a close fight if it goes to the scorecards. “It has to be a convincing win, or a KO,” he matter-of-factly acknowledged.
On paper, this looks like it could be a very good fight. Valentin, from Tampa and rep’d by All-Star Boxing, is coming off an impressive first-round knockout in his last fight in April. He is currently ranked #9 in the WBO’s Top Ten Welterweights. A victory over Santillan would solidify his position as a legitimate contender in, arguably, the most stacked, most exciting division in boxing.
Santillan, rep’d by Thompson Boxing Promotions, won a unanimous decision his last outing in February to keep his ‘goose egg’ and remain undefeated as a professional. With nearly double the fights under his belt, Santillan has the ring experience to present Valentin with his biggest challenge to date. In fact, Box Rec has Santillan positioned higher than Valentin in its ranking system, setting the table for what should be an explosive, post-fourth of July showdown.
In attendance with the fighters at the press conference was WBO President Francisco Valcarcel who also referenced the Pacquiao/Horn fight by pointing out the winner of Friday’s contest stands a good chance of being considered for a fight with new WBO Welterweight Champion Jeff Horn.
“That should be good motivation for both fighters,” he quipped, seated between the two boxers, grasping each by their wrist and eliciting a smile from both.
WBO’s Valcarcel, along with Felix “Tuto” Zabala, Jr. and Ruben DeJesus from All-Star Boxing, Inc., were on hand not only to introduce the fighters to the press, but to make a financial donation to the Children’s Cancer Center located in Tampa and where the press conference was held.
Patty O’Leary, Executive Director of the Children’s Cancer Center, graciously accepted the donation, presented to her by Santillan and Valentin on behalf of
Valcarcel and the WBO family.
“Cancer and boxing have a lot in common,” DeJesus from All-Star Boxing commented. “These fighters give it their all in the ring and that’s what these children are doing everyday in their fight against cancer.”
The WBO also made a donation at the Children’s Cancer Center last August. “They have the will to win,” WBO’s Valcarcel added, stating that the WBO is helping children in over 30 countries around the world with contributions in excess of
Today’s donation was also dedicated to the memory of Luis Perez, the former WBO Ratings Chairman, who lost his own fight against cancer in December, 2016.
On the undercard Friday night, Top Rank prospects and former Olympians, Teofimo Lopez and Antonio Vargas, will both be in action.
Lopez (5 – 0; 5 KO), an aggressive, young lightweight, is gaining a reputation as a knockout artist, winning all five of his professional fights by stoppage. He will face Christian Santibanez (5 – 6; 3 KO) from San Antonio, Texas.
Vargas (4 – 0; 2 KO), a member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, will face his most experienced, professional opponent to date when he takes on ring veteran Leonardo Reyes (6 – 13; 2 KO) in a bantamweight matchup.
Filling out the card will be undefeated, Puerto Rican super-bantamweight, Starling Cordero (9 – 0; 4 KO) against Kiun Evans (13 – 3; 7 KO) from Little Rock Arkansas, welterweight Ramon De La Paz (making his professional debut) against McKinley Smith (0 -1) and a cruiserweight bout between Richard Brown (5 – 0; 2 KO) and Jimmy Owensby (4 – 7) of Cut Off, Louisiana.
Female boxer and St. Petersburg native, Noemi ‘La Rebelde’ Bosques (11 – 9 – 3; 2 KO) will also appear in a special attraction bout vs Sonia Osorio (8 – 5 – 1; 1 KO) of Mexico.
In association with Thompson Boxing, the All-Star Boxing, Inc. promoted event will be held at A La Carte Pavilion located at 4050 Dana Shores Dr. Tampa, FL, 33634 (near Tampa International Airport). Doors open at 7:00 p.m. and ticket information is available by calling 813-454-7800.
The main event will also help kick off Telemundo’s “Boxeo” Summer Series, the popular, boxing program on Telemundo Network. For those who cannot attend the fight in person, the Valentin/Santillan fight will be aired live on Telemundo beginning at 11:35pm.
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