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Giovani Santillan Aims To Make a Statement Against Barboza

Highly ranked welterweight contender Giovani Santillan (23-0, 13 KOs) defends his WBO NABO title against once-beaten Alejandro Barboza (11-1, 7 KOs) in Friday's "Locked n' Loaded" 8-round main event.
 
Santillan, a southpaw fighting out of San Diego, Calif., holds the no. 5 position in the WBO rankings. He makes the second defense of the title he won against Sammy Valentin by second round knockout in July.
 
Thompson Boxing caught up with the undefeated contender and got his thoughts on Friday night's title fight.

giovanni-santillan_1
 
On Friday's opponent, Alejandro Barboza...
 
"I saw Barboza fight when he fought Sammy Valentin. He's a good, solid fighter. He covers up well with his hands on defense and throws compact hooks."
 
On your second defense of the WBO NABO Welterweight Title...

"I'm happy to get the opportunity to get in there and defend my title. It took a lot of time and effort to get to this point and I'm not taking Barboza lightly. I look at this as a world title fight. That's the mindset I have going in."
 
On reaching top-level contender status by virtue of the No. 5 ranking by the WBO...
 
"It's more motivation for me. I'm already self-motivated, but it gives me an extra boost. Every fight gets me closer to that world title shot. It's a talented division so every win needs to stand out."
 
On moving up to 147 lbs....
 
"I'm very pleased that we made the move to welterweight. It was a smart move and probably a lit bit overdue. Before, it was a big struggle to get down to 140 and I think it was affecting me. It affected my performance in the ring. Now that I don't have to debilitate myself, I think my punches are a lot stronger and my hand speed is there as well. Overall, I feel a lot better and more confident at welterweight."
 
On your strategy against Barboza...
 
"The plan is to take control of the fight from the very beginning. Get to the body early to take away some of his strength and hopefully knock him out early. I want to win in a big way. Everyone is looking at me and seeing how I handle these fights so I have to take him out."
 
The 8-round bout originates from the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, Calif.

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.

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