By Jake Donovan
Santander Silgado has to travel halfway around the world for his first crack at a major title. At least he can take comfort that he won’t be alone in his journey.
The unbeaten contender is presently in Moscow as the days count down for his December 17 challenge for Denis Lebedev’s alphabet cruiserweight title. The transplanted Colombian – who now calls Brooklyn home – will be accompanied by an all-star supporting cast, including acclaimed hip hop artist Busta Rhymes as well as former champions Roy Jones Jr. and Nate Campbell.
Silgado (23-0, 18KO) was born and raised in Colombia, but recently relocated to Brooklyn, where he now fights for local promoter Havoc Boxing. The 27-year old instantly became friends with Busta Rhymes (real name Trevor Smith, Jr.), who will perform a mini-concert immediately following the show, after a deal was reached between promoter Vlad Hrunov and Jose Nunez, a boxing manager who also doubles as a music promoter.
The rapper will also be on hand to support his fellow Brooklynite.
Busta Rhymes established himself as one of the premiere emcees of the 1990’s, first gaining notoriety with Leaders of the New School before embarking on a solo career shortly after the Long Island-based group separated. The rapper/actor has earned 11 Grammy nominations, including two in last year’s awards ceremony.
The performance will be met with a live market in Moscow, as evidenced by Roy Jones’ own successful hip-hop tour while still doubling as a fighter, though the results in the ring haven’t been nearly as rewarding. The former pound-for-pound king suffered a brutal last-second knockout against Lebedev last May, marking his third consecutive loss.
Jones has since won two straight, including a disputed split decision win over previously unbeaten Pawel Glazewski this past June in his opponent’s native Poland.
Lebedev’s own win over Jones came on the heels of the lone loss of his career, dropping a controversial split decision to Marco Huck in Dec. ’10, two years almost to the day of his title defense against Silgado.
Lebedev (24-1, 18KO) has since won three straight and was granted championship status without having to earn the belt in the ring. An interim title win over Shawn Cox in April saw an upgrade later in the year after Guillermo Jones was stripped for blatant inactivity.
Monday’s bout will mark Lebedev’s first defense, having not fought since April.
Silgado boasts a fairly thin resume but has remained active. The transplanted Colombian last fought in October, scoring a points win over Joell Godfrey in a rematch to their bout three months prior. Each of his last three contests have went the eight-round distance.
Busta’s appearance in Moscow caps a year that saw him release his ninth solo album, ‘Year of the Dragon’ which was released exclusively for Google Play this past August.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox