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Will Santisima’s chin hold up?


PhilBoxing.com



Santisima and Roach in Los Angeles.
The odds are so lopsided that anyone who bets for ALA fighter Jeo Santisima to dethrone WBO superbantamweight champion Emanuel Navarrete in their Las Vegas bout this Saturday night (Sunday morning, Manila time), will bank a tidy sum. The latest betting line shows that a $100 wager on Santisima will earn $1,120, making the Masbate challenger a 12-1 underdog. In contrast, a bettor has to lay $2,400 to win only $100 for Navarrete to mark his fifth successful title defense.

Santisima, however, isn’t fazed by the odds. He has sparred over 100 rounds to prepare for Navarrete and there’s no turning back. In Cebu, Santisima worked with Japanese lightweight Takayuki Sakai, superbantamweight Albert Pagara, superflyweight K. J. Cataraja and superflyweight Jonas Sultan. It’s his first overseas outing but he’s ready to put on a show in the undercard of the heavyweight main event featuring Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury. In Santisima’s corner for the fight will be ALA head trainer Edito Villamor, second Michael Domingo, cutman Dr. Ed de la Vega and strength/conditioning coach Nick Curson.

Since landing in Los Angeles last Thursday, Santisima worked out at the Wild Card Gym and stayed in shape jogging at Monterey Park. Santisima, Villamor and Domingo motored from Los Angeles to Las Vegas last Monday. ALA Boxing president Michael Aldeguer flew in the other day to join the group in Las Vegas.


Navarrete and Santisima face off during their grand arrival at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Tuesday.

“Handang-handa na si Jeo,” said Villamor in a message to The Star. “Kung gusto nilang sabayan, yun din ang gusto ni Jeo para masiyahan ang mga boxing fans sa Vegas. He’s a strong fighter with a good chin. He can take Navarrete’s punch.”

Staying away from Navarrete’s line of fire is critical and Villamor said Santisima’s defense will be put to a test. “Good footwork, lateral movement to avoid Navarrete, good defense, yun ang dapat,” said Villamor. Santisima has never been knocked out in a career that started in 2013 with a loss to Roniel Parcon by decision. He was decked only once by Marco Demecillo in a Cebu City brawl in 2016. Santisima was floored in the second round but got up to stop Demecillo in six.

Navarrete, a power blaster, has scored 12 KOs in his last 13 bouts. Overall, his record of 30-1 is punctuated by 26 KOs with Filipinos Mig Elorde and Glenn Porras among the stoppage victims. His only setback came in his sixth pro bout, a loss on points to Daniel Argueta in 2012. He promised to be the first fighter to knock Santisima out.

How Santisima plans to wrest Navarrete’s crown will depend on a lot of variables. “May game plan din sila, baka iba naman ang fight na gagawin nila sa ibabaw ng ring,” said Villamor. “Ang sa amin lang ay preparado si Jeo sa laban na ito. Depende na sa actual na laban kasi may changes din ang kalaban. Hindi lang magpa-corner si Jeo kung pumasok si Navarrete.”

Villamor said Santisima has his own unique style, different from Sen. Manny Pacquiao or Gerry Penalosa. “He’s an awkward fighter with a good punch,” said Villamor. “Iba si Pacquiao at Gerry at hindi natin ma-compare si Jeo sa kanila kasi both are legends.” Santisima, 23, is coming in with a record of 19-2, with 16 KOs. A fast starter, he has notched six first round KOs. Santisima is unbeaten in his last 17 fights, 15 of which didn’t go the distance, and hasn’t lost since dropping a majority six-round verdict to Marlon Arcilla in 2014.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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