As BoxingScene.com previously reported, future Hall of Famer Nonito Donaire will battle Mexican contender Alexandro Santiago for the vacant WBC bantamweight world championship on the Showtime PPV undercard for Errol Spence Jr. vs. Terence Crawford on Saturday, July 29 in a Premier Boxing Champions events from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
In the telecast opener, top prospect Yoenis Tellez, who is guided by renowned trainer Ronnie Shields will take on Spanish contender Sergio Garcia in a 10-round super welterweight attraction. Garcia was originally scheduled to face Jesus Ramos Jr. However Ramos was forced to withdraw due to a hand injury.
The Donaire vs. Santiago fight, which was originally scheduled to take place July 15, will be the second fight of the pay-per-view. The previously announced Gurgen Hovhannisyan vs. Viktor Faust bout was removed after Faust was forced to withdraw because of a back injury.
The pay-per-view begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and also features hard-hitting contender Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz facing unbeaten Giovanni Cabrera in a 12-round WBC and WBA Lightweight Title Eliminator in the co-main event.
One of the sport’s most accomplished active fighters, Donaire (42-7, 28 KOs) has captured titles at flyweight, bantamweight, super bantamweight and featherweight. He will look to make another run at bantamweight after capturing the title with a May 2021 knockout of Nordine Oubaali and eventually a defeat to Naoya Inoue in their June 2022 rematch. Representing his native Talibon, Bohol, Philippines, Donaire’s previous campaign at bantamweight began in 2018 by upsetting then unbeaten champion Ryan Burnett in his hometown to capture a title once again, before eventually dropping the belt in the 2019 Fight of the Year in his first matchup against Inoue.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to become a world champion once again on an already historic night for boxing,” said Donaire. “I’m thankful to my team for this opportunity and I’m going to do everything I can to make the most of it. We’re working really hard on defense and being as fast as possible. It’s been an amazing camp and I can’t wait to get in the ring.”
A native of Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, Santiago (27-3-5, 14 KOs) will compete for a bantamweight crown for the first time in his career on July 15, as he enters this fight on a three-bout winning streak since a majority decision loss to Gary Antonio Russell in November 2021. The 27-year-old had previously fought for a 115-pound championship in September 2018, battling Jerwin Ancajas to a split-draw. Santiago most recently avenged one of the draws on his record, as he stopped Antonio Nieves in seven rounds last October.
“I have been waiting five years to get another world title opportunity, so another two weeks is nothing,” said Santiago. “I’m still focused and working hard. The objective and target is still the same. I’m very fortunate and would like to thank my team for this great opportunity to be part of such an amazing event on July 29.”
The 23-year-old Tellez (5-0, 4 KOs) is the latest young standout from boxing-rich Cuba looking to make a splash early in the pro ranks. A native of Santiago de Cuba, Tellez now trains in Stafford, Texas with Shields and first turned pro in June 2020. Tellez has already scored two victories in 2023, including most recently earning a shutout unanimous decision over Cameron Krael in May.
“I’m super excited to be a part of this huge event,” said Tellez. “Spence vs. Crawford is the best fight in boxing and it is a blessing to be part of this big night and facing a legit top-10 contender in Sergio Garcia. I look forward to boxing fans seeing a new star of the super welterweight division. I can’t wait to shine under the bright lights!”
Garcia (34-2, 14 KOs) returned to the ring in April to defeat Ricardo Sebastian Cabana before he steps into the ring for his third stateside bout on July 29. His only career defeats have come via decision as he dropped a December 2021 bout against top contender Sebastian Fundora and an April 2022 clash against former world champion Tony Harrison. Fighting out of Torrelavega, Cantabria, Spain, the 30-year-old has competed professionally since 2012. He ascended the rankings by traveling to the U.K. to defeat then unbeaten Ted Cheeseman on his home soil in 2019 and followed that up with a triumph over veteran contender Sergey Rabchenko.
“I’m very thankful to my team for keeping me on this exceptional card,” said Garcia. “I’m very happy to be able to show my boxing skills to the whole world. It is very unfortunate what happened to Rams, but these things happen in boxing. Now I’m facing Tellez, who is at a much higher level than his record shows. He’s a great fighter and I’m going to give it my all to beat him. I know that a good performance on a big card in the U.S. will put me right on the doorstep of a world title.”