By Chris Robinson
On Saturday night, inside of the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix, Ariz., upcoming prospect Alexis Santiago produced the biggest victory of his career in stopping Alex Rangel in the ninth round.
With the victory, Santiago improves to 15-3-1 with 7 knockouts while also capturing the WBC USNBC bantamweight championship.
The 22-year old Santiago was in control of the tempo of the bout from the outset and seemed pleased with his performance.
“It felt great, especially because it was against a very tough opponent and I needed this fight,” Santiago would state on Sunday afternoon. “The fight was a great fight where I boxed well and at times stayed inside and fought. I felt I was doing a great job boxing but maybe could have used my jab more.”
Rangel was a very game opponent but Santiago began breaking him down late in the fight and finished matters off after a knockdown in the ninth round put his opponent at a disadvantage.
“In the ninth round I knew he was fading away,” Santiago confirmed. “I connected good punches that sent him down. After he got up I knew he was still hurt so I jumped on him and dropped him twice more to finish it.
“I wanted to have a very convincing win, so that’s why I went straight at him after the first drop,” Santiago added.
A resident of Phoenix, Santiago has been spending the past few years back and forth between Arizona and his training base in Las Vegas at the Mayweather Boxing Club.
For the past two fights, Santiago has been working under the tutelage of trainer Rafael Ramos and sensed an instant chemistry with him.
“We have a real great bond,” said Santiago. “From day one I loved working with Rafael; he’s a great trainer and has helped me improve a lot.”
Santiago didn’t take the easy road in his career and took losses to unbeaten prospects Randy Caballero and Roman Morales as learning lessons. Along the way, Santiago has been able to pick up valuable sparring against the likes of Guillermo Rigondeaux, Nonito Donaire, and Celestino Caballero, as well as the work he receives in the aforementioned Mayweather Boxing Club.
Santiago is unsure of his next move but expects to know in a few weeks what the next steps of his career will entail.