Giovanni Santillan Returns to His Familiar Digs and other SoCal Fight News

Giovanni Santillan returns to his stomping grounds with the NABO welterweight title in hand. Will he be the next jewel to capture a world title for the little giant promotion company?

Santillan (23-0, 13 KOs) defends the title against Mexico’s Alejandro Barboza (11-1) on Friday April 27 at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, Calif. It’s the second defense of the title for San Diego’s Santillan (pictured) who was discovered by Thompson Boxing Promotions. It will not be televised.

Based in Orange County, the small sized Thompson Boxing has a knack for spotting and developing world champions. Pound for pound they may just be the most successful promotion company in the world.

It’s still a little early to claim Santillan will be the next Thompson fighter to wield a world title belt, but the speedy 26-year-old southpaw seems to be thriving at the 147-pound weight limit. After suffering through debilitating and sometimes unsuccessful weight losses at 140 pounds, the rise into a heavier weight division seems to have added strength and power to the San Diegan.

Back to back stoppages by Santillan seem to indicate he truly likes the heavier weight class. The next step will be for a world title. Currently, Santillan is ranked number five by the WBO right behind Danny “Swift” Garcia. The titlist is Australia’s Jeff Horn.

You never know if he will be next.

Last year another Thompson Boxing protégé got his shot when Danny Roman accepted an offer in Japan and grabbed the WBA world title with both hands. And there have been many others in the past who have had very successful careers such as Tim Bradley, Mauricia Herrera and Josesito Lopez.


Speaking of Josesito Lopez, the Riverside prizefighter has a date this Saturday in El Paso, Texas against undefeated Miguel Cruz (17-0, 11 KOs) in a 10 round main event. It will be televised by Fox.

Lopez (35-7, 19 KOs) has been around for a long time and surprisingly is only 33. He’s fought the monsters of the fight game like Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Marcos Maidana, but has been frequently sidelined with injuries . Does he still have gas in the tank?

“I feel pretty good. I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring,” said Lopez while at Robert Garcia’s Boxing Academy in Riverside. “I feel I have the right ingredients to put everything together.”

His opponent Cruz, 27, fights out of Florida and has racked up some solid wins against good competition in Florida and Pennsylvania. This is his first visit to the Wild West.


WBO super bantamweight titlist Jessie Magdaleno (25-0, 18 KOs) finally enters the boxing ring after more than a year without a defense. He finds himself against the very aggressive and speedy Isaac Dogboe (18-0, 12 KOs) of Ghana on Saturday in Philadelphia. ESPN will televise.

It’s only Magdaleno’s second defense of the title he took from Nonito Donaire back in November 2016. His other defense was a second round knockout of Adeilson Dos Santos at the StubHub Center a year ago.

Magdaleno, 26, trains out of the Legendz Gym in Norwalk, Calif. Lately, that gym has become a hotspot for prepping fighters for championship fights. Among those drilling at the outdoor gym are Dmitry Bivol, Oscar Valdez and Ryan Garcia. There is always plenty of superior sparring available. Keeping well-oiled should not be a problem for Magdaleno.

But Dogboe will test the Las Vegas southpaw early on. He’s no stranger to Southern California fight fans. Twice he fought on All Star Boxing fight cards in Montebello and once at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown L.A. Of course this fight takes place on the East Coast, but it’s Philly, not New York which has been a bad spot for California fighters to win by decision.

All Star Boxing

The aforementioned All Star Boxing presents another show at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown L.A. on Saturday April 28.

Ed Holmes, the promoter of the All Star Boxing event, has a long history of presenting future world champions early in their careers. In the past Murat Gassiev, Sergio Mora and Mariana Juarez have performed on his cards. He also has a solid record of presenting female fighters.

This Saturday three female fights are included on the card Battle of the Rising Stars. All three female bouts should prove very entertaining.

Adelaida Ruiz (4-0) meets Reyna Garcia Cotija (5-0) in a battle of undefeated bantamweights in the co-main event.

Ruiz, 29, fights out of Lynwood, CA, and despite 10 years away from the boxing game the former amateur star returned with a vengeance. Her last fight in March was a devastating knockout win in the second round. But there’s no time to lose so she’s matched against another undefeated fighter though it’s only been a year for Ruiz to shake out a decade’s worth of rust.

Garcia Cotija, 26, fights out of Mexico City. It’s a place known for building strong female fighters like Mariana “Barby” Juarez. But can she fight like Juarez? It should be a decisive clash.

Aida Satybaldinova (1-0-1) just fought last Saturday in Tijuana where she gained her first win as a pro. She’s back and eager for more as she meets debuting Kaily Hansen (0-0) in a lightweight fight. Satybaldinova is a native of Kazakhstan and fought last March against another talented fighter Lisa Porter. It ended in a draw. But the former amateur star has plans to scorch her way to the top and is not wasting time. She is back for more.

The third female contest is a strawweight rematch and involves Lorraine Villalobos (1-0) and Elvia Trevino (2-2). In their first encounter last summer it was Villalobos who got the win as she used her speed and technique to out-maneuver Mexico’s Trevino. We will see if Trevino can make adjustments to her game.

It’s a lengthy fight card with Hector Lopez Jr. (8-0-1, 5 KOs) the co-main event as he meets Thomas Herrera (9-18-1) in a six round lightweight clash.  Lopez, 23, is the son of the late great Hector Lopez who won a silver medal representing Mexico in the 1984 Olympics held in Los Angeles. He’s a slick fighter who has obviously picked up some of his skills from his pops who passed away in 2011.

For tickets and information call (323) 816-6200. Doors open at 5 p.m.

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