World ranked welterweight Giovani Santillan (23-0, 13 KOs) defends his WBO NABO Title against once-beaten Alejandro Barboza (11-1, 7 KOs) in the “Locked n’ Loaded” main event next Friday, April 27.
The 8-round bout originates from the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, Calif.
Santillan, ranked No. 5 by the WBO, last defended his title in November against Dodzi Kemeh in what was a one-sided affair that ended in a fourth round knockout win for Santillan.
The southpaw from San Diego initially won the belt last summer when he traveled to Sammy Valentin’s hometown of Tampa, Fla. and erased his night by second round stoppage.
Santillan, 26, finds himself in elite company within the WBO’s world rankings. Ahead of him are well known talents Danny Garcia, Manny Pacquiao, and No. 1 contender Terrence Crawford, plus titleholder Jeff Horn.
“I have to stand out now more than ever,” Santillan said. “Every fight is a statement fight. I’m in the mix for a big fight, but I have to take care of business against Barboza first.”
Santillan began his career in the 140-pound division, but moved up to welterweight for his fight against Valentin. With two impressive showings at the higher weight class, Santillan is settling in nicely in what is a star-studded division.
“I feel great at 147,” said Santillan, who works part-time as a youth boxing instructor. “Sometimes when you move up in weight you might lose some power or speed, but I think I’ve gotten stronger and faster at welterweight. Boxing at this weight feels more natural to me.”
Tickets for “Locked n’ Loaded” are priced at $40, $60, & $100 and are available for purchase by calling 714-935-0900, or visiting ThompsonBoxing.com.
In the 6-round co-feature, unbeaten bantamweight prospect Saul Sanchez (7-0, 4 KOs) of Los Angeles measures his skills against Sam Rodriguez (5-2, 3 KOs) of Orlando, Fla.
Sanchez is an intriguing prospect, as he mixes a technical pedigree with aggressive punching. The 20-year-old is trained by Joel Diaz and managed by Steve Martini.
In a 4-round bout, super bantamweight Miguel Alcantara (4-0, 2 KOs) of Los Angeles tests his unbeaten record against Jose Fabian Naranjo (3-7-2, 1 KO) of Mexico.
Junior lightweight George Acosta (4-0) of Long Beach, Calif., who recently signed a promotional deal with Thompson Boxing, battles Edgar Tovar (0-1) in a fight set for 4-rounds.
Acosta, a self-described counter puncher, has been eyeing a relationship with Thompson Boxing ever since he was young.
“I remember when I was still in the amateurs I would go to Thompson Boxing shows at the Doubletree [Ontario, CA] and I even took a picture and said I would one day fight there,” Acosta, 21, said. “It’s a great feeling to realize my goal.”
Also on “Locked n’ Loaded,” undefeated super bantamweight Jonah Flores (3-0) of Riverside, Calif. fights Neri Garcia (0-3) of Mexico in a 4-round bout.
Welterweight prospect Luis Lopez (1-0, 1 KO) of Riverside will fight an opponent to be named later (4-rounds).
Opening the “Locked n’ Loaded” show is lightweight prospect Zhora Hamazaryan (9-0, 6 KOs) of Los Angeles by way of Armenia. Hamazaryan will fight an opponent to be named later (4-rounds). Hamazaryan is promoted by Thompson Boxing and Banner Promotions.
All fights will be live streamed on TB Presents: Locked n’ Loaded via our Facebook page and ThompsonBoxing.com.
The livestream starts at 8:00 p.m. PT / 11:00 p.m. ET with Beto Duran as the blow-by-blow announcer and Steve Kim providing expert color commentary.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. local time with the first bout at approximately 8:00 p.m. The Doubletree Hotel is located at 222 N. Vineyard Ave. in Ontario, CA 91764 and can be reached at 909-937-0900.