Walter Santibanes outboxes Manuel Flores in UD win, Thursday night
Walter Santibanes outboxed and dominated his way to a unanimous decision victory over Manuel Flores, Thursday night, at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, in Indio, California.
Scores were 99-91, twice, and 100-90 for Santibanes, who improved to 12-2, 2 knockouts.
From the opening bell, both fighters were effective, as they traded combinations in the center of the ring. Flores attempted to box Santibanes behind a jab but Santibanes initiated exchanges, ripping three and four-punch combos, with several landing to Flores’ body.
Santibanes also mixed his attack, connecting with right and left uppercuts upstairs, even switching from a conventional to southpaw stance, then back to conventional. Flores did well in spurts but seemed to become more defensive and stationary with each passing round.
Rounds 5 and 6 were Santibanes’ most effective and best in the fight, as he connected with two-punch combinations to the body, followed by left-right combos that snapped Flores’ head back.
Flores did not make any adjustments during the second half of the fight, which allowed Santibanes to continue outlanding Flores. Santibanes dominated the action, continuing to vary his offense, from landing a body punch, then two uppercuts to the head to leading with right hands, followed by a series of punches to Flores’ body.
The pace of the fight slowed from the eighth round on but Santibanes continued to put Flores on the defensive, at times befuddling him and not allowing him to let his hands go.
“Once I felt his punches, I knew he wasn’t going to hurt me,” said Santibanes after the fight. “I hate cutting weight but I love fighting. I always try to work hard in the gym.
“I’m always humble. I came to show who I really am. As far as what’s next, maybe I’ll go down to 115 pounds. I’m down to fight anyone. I don’t care. It could be 115, 118, 122 to 126 pounds.”
Flores, who resides in nearby Coachella, falls to 15-1, 11 KOs. The 24-year-old was coming off a split decision win over once-beaten Franklin Gonzalez, in his previous fight, on February 23.
In the co-feature, Jelena Mrdjenovich, of Edmonton, Canada, defeated Colombia’s Calista Silgado by majority decision.
One judge scored the bout 95-95, while the other two judges gave scores of 96-94 and 97-93 for Mrdjenovich, who improved to 42-12-2, 19 KOs.
Mrdjenovich, who is trained by SugarHill Steward and is ranked No. 3 by The Ring at 126 pounds, was effective from distance, outboxing Silgado, who was at her best throwing and landing lead hooks and crosses to Mrdjenovich’s head.
By the midway point of the fight, Mrdjenovich was the aggressor. Throughout the second half of the fight, Mrdjenovich landed the more effective punches.
The win over Silgado snapped a two-bout losing streak for Mrdjenovich, with both losses coming at the hands of Erika Cruz. Mrdjenovich lost the WBA featherweight title to Cruz in the first fight in April 2021.
Silgado falls to 21-17-4, 16 Kos, adding this loss to those of then-WBA junior lightweight titleholder Hyun Mi Choi, Maureen Shea, Melissa St. Vil and Heather Hardy.
Junior lightweight prospect Daniel Garcia knocked out Mexico’s Luis May (22-17-1, 8 KOs) at 1:13 of the opening round. A double left hook to the head, then body, dropped May to the canvas, prompting referee Ray Armendariz to stop the fight.
Garcia, now 6-0, 5 KOs, resides in Denver, Colorado, and is managed by Joel De La Hoya.
Former amateur standout Gael Cabrera, of Ciudad Obregon, Mexico, was successful in his professional debut, at junior lightweight, dropping Tijuana’s Ulises Rosales (0-7) twice en route to a knockout victory. Time of the knockout was 1:29 of the first round.
In the opening bout of the Golden Boy Promotions card, junior lightweight Patricio Manuel, of Los Angeles, defeated Alexander Gutierrez (0-2), of nearby Lake Elsinore, by unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout 40-36 for Manuel (3-0).
Also on RingTV:
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 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 at [email protected]. You can also follow Francisco on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing.