Rising bantamweight contender Alexis “Beaver” Santiago (20-3-1, 8 KOs) is nearing his first headlining event as he takes on Erik Ruiz (15-4, 6 KOs) Tuesday, February 16 from Sam’s Town Live in Las Vegas on Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) TOE-TO-TOE TUESDAYS on FS1 and BOXEO DE CAMPEONES on FOX Deportes.
Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features a light heavyweight battle between Lionell “Lonnie B” Thompson and Paul Parker plus a super middleweight showdown that pits Lanell “KO” Bellows against unbeaten Antowyan “Iceman” Aikens.
Santiago has promised that his first shot at a main event will not disappoint.
“Everybody watching can expect a real exciting fight,” said Santiago. “I like to go out there and perform and give everyone a great show. I can box and make it easy if I want, but I want to give everyone something to remember. I know Ruiz is coming to fight, and I know I’m going to give it my all.”
The road to this fight has been a long one for Santiago. The 25-year-old grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and was frequently in and out of trouble as a youth, eventually leading to his interest in boxing.
“Before I got into boxing, I got into street fights and was getting kicked out of school and all that,” said Santiago. “I was always the troublemaker. My parents wanted to keep me on the right path. I had friends who were training in a boxing gym. I wanted to join them but my parents wouldn’t let me.
“I kept getting into trouble and by the time I was 14, my brother and sister just started taking me to the gym without telling my parents. They were really mad at first, but eventually they saw how good it was for me and I just fell in love with the sport.”
After turning pro in 2009, Santiago managed his own career and eventually decided to move to Las Vegas four years ago. He made signing with Mayweather Promotions one of his goals, a mark he achieved last year before his September fight.
“One of my goals when I moved to Las Vegas was to sign with Mayweather Promotions, and now I’m the first Mexican fighter from Mayweather Promotions to headline a PBC show,” said Santiago. “I felt like it was time to take control of my career and take the next step and get the bigger and better fights. I wanted to be taken care of.”
Before his last fight, Santiago began working with respected trainer Ismael Salas and the two have been preparing a game plan for the tough Ruiz.
“Training with Ismael has been going really well and we’re getting great sparring,” said Santiago. “We’re working on little things we need to fix, like sitting down on punches and other things. Ismael isn’t changing anything, but he’s just polishing everything and helping me out.
“We’ve seen video of our opponent so we know what we need to do and we’ve worked on it already. Ismael is a really smart trainer and I’m looking forward to improving with him each time out.”
Now, Santiago is ready to step into the ring and show the skills he has worked so hard to hone. With a win, Santiago has big goals for this year and beyond.
“I’m very motivated and excited to be the main event,” said Santiago. “It’s going to be an exciting fight and we’re focused on making everything go well on February 16. I want a world title shot this year. I’m ranked by everybody, so hopefully with this fight we will get a step closer.”
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, are priced at $25 and $50, not including applicable fees, and are on sale now. Tickets may be purchased online at: http://www.samstownlv.com/entertain, by calling (702) 284-7777, or at any Boyd Gaming box office.