By Francisco Salazar
Francisco Santana finally has an opponent for his January 9 bout.
After Sebastian Lujan and former world title holder Randall Bailey reportedly withdrew from facing him, Santana will now fight Kendal Mena.
The 10 round welterweight bout will open the "Friday Night Fights" telecast on ESPN2 from the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, California.
This will be Mena's first fight outside of his native Dominican Republic. Mena (20-0, 11 KOs), who has fought three of his last four bouts as a junior welterweight, has not fought against a fighter with a winning record.
Mena has not fought since December 7, 2013, when he stopped William Tapia in the second round.
Santana (21-3-1, 10 KOs), who resides in nearby Santa Barbara, has won his last nine bouts in a row since his eight round decision loss to Jermell Charlo in October of 2011. In his last bout on August 15, he stopped Luis Alfredo Lugo in the fifth round.
In the main event, Darleys Perez will defend his interim WBA lightweight title against Jonathan Maicelo.
There is a possibility heavyweight Mike Perez could fight on the January 9 card. Perez was penciled to fight on February 5 in Costa Mesa, California, but Perez could fight in Santa Ynez if an opponent is found for him.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Salazar also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing