Tuesday, March 28, 2023  |



Giovani Santillan handles late replacement Rivera in one round

Fighters Network

ONTARIO, Calif. – Young prospect Giovani Santillan did not know what to expect when he learned he would be facing a late replacement on Friday night. Undaunted, Santillan was still able to get the job done in quick fashion.

Santillan stopped Eduardo Rivera in the first frame of an eight-rounder that headlined a six-bout “Path to Glory” card presented by Thompson Boxing Promotions.

With the win, Santillan goes to 16-0 (9 knockouts), while Rivera falls to 9-2-2 (2 KOs).

Santillan was scheduled to fight Rafael Cobos, but Cobos backed out of the bout late last week to take a fight against Erickson Lubin on March 6.

Rivera was scheduled to fight Cesar Villarraga in a preliminary on the same card. When the Santillan-Cobos fight fell through, Rivera took the fight against Santillan.

Both fighters sized each other up in the first minute of the opening round. Seeing an opening, Rivera went on the attack, but he mostly threw wide punches.

His misses allowed the southpaw Santillan to counter to the head. Rivera did not let up in his attack, but was hurt by a punch that wobbled him against the ropes. Santillan went in for the kill, dropping Rivera to the canvas with a barrage of punches. Referee Ray Corona began to administer a count, but waved it off at 2:28.

Shelestyuk overwhelms Reza

In another bout on the card, welterweight Taras Shelestyuk (11-0, 8 KOs) overwhelmed Francisco Reza from the opening bell, eventually stopping the Mexican fighter in the third round.

The southpaw Shelestyuk, who won a bronze medal for Ukraine in the 2012 Olympic Games, landed almost at will to the head of Reza. Midway through the first round, Shelestyuk dropped Reza with a barrage of punches.

Undaunted, Reza (13-12, 10 KOs) tried to fight back, but none of his punches had any effect on Shelestyuk. As the bout progressed, referee Corona kept taking a closer look at Reza, but allowed the action to continue.

About one minute into the third round, Shelestyuk hurt Reza with a combination to the head. Reza backed into a corner and tried to fight back. As Shelestyuk went in for the kill, Reza’s corner threw in the towel, prompting Corona to stop the bout at 1:26.

With the win, Shelestyuk will likely return to action in April on an ESPN2 telecast.

In other bouts:

– Junior featherweight Isaac Zarate dropped Pedro Melo in the first round on his way to a unanimous-decision victory. Scores were 78-73, 78-73 and 79-72 for Zarate (10-1-1, 1 KO).

– Unbeaten lightweight Cesar Villarraga stopped Jesus Angulo at 1:55 of the first round. Villarraga (6-0, 4 KOs) represented Colombia in the 2012 Olympic Games.

– Flyweight Francisco Lapizco (7-1, 2 KOs) suffered the first defeat of his pro career at the hands of Gilberto Mendoza (5-4, 1 KO). All three judges scored the bout in favor of Mendoza, 58-56, 58-56, and 59-55.

– In the opening bout, heavyweight LaRon Mitchell (6-0, 6 KOs) stopped Chad Davis at :44 of the fourth and final round.

Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Salazar also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing