Sunday, September 25, 2022  |



Giovani Santillan pumped to be back fighting in hometown


Unbeaten Giovani Santillan will finally get that hometown fight he has so desired.

The unbeaten Santillan will square off against Angel Ruiz on October 15, Top Rank announced Tuesday. The 10-round bout will take place at Pechanga Arena in Santillan’s hometown of San Diego, California.

The Santillan-Ruiz fight will precede the main event bout between WBO featherweight titleholder Emanuel Navarrete and Joet Gonzalez. Both fights will stream live on ESPN+ (11:30 p.m. ET/ 8:30 p.m. PT).

It is be an intriguing clash between the two southpaw fighters. Santillan will be the more-technical fighter while the more aggressive Ruiz, a boxer-puncher, will more likely fight on his front foot.

Santillan (27-0, 15 knockouts) has not fought in his hometown since stopping Osenohan Vazquez in August 2014. He had been a staple of Thompson Boxing Promotions cards in nearby Ontario and Corona before signing a co-promotional deal with Top Rank in May of last year.

Santillan doesn’t seem like the type to freeze up fighting in front of copious friends and family.

“As soon as I got the call, I was excited because this is something my Dad and I talked about for a long time, being part of a big show in San Diego,” said Santillan. “Ruiz is a good fighter, a hungry guy, but I’m hungry as well. We actually sparred a few years back and did some rounds. It was good work. I can’t wait for Oct. 15. I’m going to perform for my family, my friends, and my city. This is an incredible opportunity.”

The 29-year-old last fought on June 26, defeating Cecil McCalla by unanimous decision. The fight took place just over a year after his Top Rank debut, when he defeated former world lightweight titleholder Antonio DeMarco by majority decision in a very close fight.

Santillan is now managed by David McWater, who also manages Ring Magazine lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez, unbeaten junior middleweight Charles Conwell, and prospects Erick De Leon, Janelson Figueroa and Abraham Nova.

Ruiz (17-1, 12 KOs) bounced back from a knockout loss to Javier Flores in October 2019 to defeat previously-unbeaten Bobirzhan Mominov by unanimous decision on April 22. Ruiz dropped Mominov twice during the fight.

Ruiz always comes in ripped.

The 24-year-old is originally from the boxing hotbed of Culiacan, Mexico and now lives and trains in Los Angeles.

Top Rank also announced Tuesday that unbeaten junior lightweight Henry Lebron (13-0, 9 KOs) of Puerto Rico will face Dallas’ Manuel Rey Rojas (21-5, 6 KOs) in an eight-round bout in support of Navarrete-Gonzalez. Junior welterweight prospect and 2016 Mexican Olympian Lindolfo Delgado (13-0, 12 KOs) and unbeaten middleweight Javier Martinez (4-0, 2 KOs) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin will fight in separate bouts on the card.

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