Giovani Santillan and Alexis Rocha looked well-matched on paper for a fight that could be competitive with good action. We got action, but not much in terms of competitiveness, as Santillan absolutely demolished Rocha over six rounds tonight on DAZN.
Santillan dropped Rocha twice in the fifth round, then again in the following frame to get the stoppage win at 1:13 of round six.
It’s easily a career-best win for Santillan, a 31-year-old welterweight who had been stuck fighting on Top Rank prelims before getting this shot on a Golden Boy, and he sure made it count.
Give Rocha (23-2, 15 KO) due respect for fighting like an absolute warrior, and keep in mind he did not quit. He had the resistance beaten out of him by a fighter who just flat looked better than him in every round, and nothing Rocha tried was able to turn the tide in the 26-year-old’s favor.
Santillan (32-0, 17 KO) will likely take Rocha’s No. 1 ranking with the WBO with this victory, and considering all four belts in the 147 lb ranks could go vacant soon, that could be big. He will have a potential issue in that he’s still signed to Top Rank, who didn’t have any opponents for him in-house and still won’t tomorrow, but all he can do is fight, and boy did he in this one.
Also to the credit of Rocha, he landed punches here and was willing to engage and trade, he just couldn’t budge a seemingly possessed Santillan, who was doing clear damage, leaving Rocha’s face bloody by the last couple of rounds.
“Alexis is a great fighter, very strong. I think he showed that in the fight. Very tough,” Santillan said of his opponent. “He got up twice. But it is the result that we were looking for. ... He’s strong. I definitely felt the power, but I felt good in there, I felt comfortable.”
Gabriela Fundora wins first world title
Gabriela beats her brother Sebastian to a full world title, ripping the IBF flyweight belt from veteran Arely Mucino in dominant fashion, scoring a fifth round stoppage.
Fundora (12-0, 5 KO) was just taking Mucino (32-4-2, 11 KO) to town throughout this fight, with Mucino doing her best to find ways to land effectively on her 5’9” opponent.
Fundora drilled Mucino with a clean left hand on the button for a knockdown in the fifth, and it could have been stopped there, but Jack Reiss let it continue. He appeared set to let it continue again after another knockdown, but Mucino’s corner called it.
At 21, “Sweet Poison” has her first world title. You watch her fight and you suspect it will be the first of many.
More highlights and results
- John “Scrappy” Ramirez TKO-4 Ronal Batista (2:33): Ol’ Scrappy has taken some heat for not being so “entertaining” in his last couple, and the first two rounds of this weren’t much either. Then he turned it on. Then he started throwing power shots. You can see a thudding power in his short shots, and it paid off, as Ramirez (13-0, 9 KO) served up a beatdown on Batista (15-4, 9 KO) in this WBA 115 lb eliminator. Is he a top fighter? That remains to be seen. But if nothing else he’s going to get better “reviews” for this one, and quite well deserves them.
- Ricardo Sandoval UD-10 Victor Sandoval (96-94, 97-93, 97-93): Damn good flyweight fight here. Victor (37-4, 23 KO) started pretty well, but Ricardo (23-2, 16 KO) warmed into it and took over in the middle rounds and mostly down the stretch, though Victor showed plenty of life as he tried to keep the pace. A fight that should keep Ricardo in contention at 112 and see Victor get more phone calls, if things are fair, because he’s a good fighter with something to offer for sure.
- Joeshon James TKO-1 David Stevens (2:52): Promoters should stop putting their undefeated prospects in with Joeshon James if they want their undefeated prospects to win. In Sept. 2022, he stopped Richard Brewart Jr, who was 12-0. In May, he went to an eight-round draw with Javier Martinez, who was 8-0. Just three weeks ago, he went to a four-round draw with Abdilkhan Amankul, who was 4-0. And here, he just completely smoked David Stevens, who is now 13-1 (9 KO), while James moves to 8-0-2 (5 KO), a totally unheralded 25-year-old that it’s clear someone might really want to sign in case this is a dude who’s coming from nowhere and has something very real. Look, once is a thing that happens, twice maybe even a “thing that happens,” four straight times? This is a fighter. Stevens was down twice and just taken apart.