Giovani Santillan finally has a taste out of what it is like to be a legit contender. He still has a ways to go before he becomes an elite fighter, but he is on the right path and the right people behind him.
Santillan stopped Dodzi Kemeh at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, California. The 10 round bout headlined a seven-bout card that can be seen in its entirety on ThompsonBoxing.com or Thompson Boxing’s Facebook page.
Santillan staggered Kemeh at the end of round two. At the conclusion of the fourth, the ringside doctor stopped the fight after feeling that Kemeh's left eye was too injured to allow the boxer to continue.
Santillan (23-0, 13 knockouts) was considered the B-side in his last fight on July 7 against welterweight contender Sammy Valentin. In the clash between unbeaten welterweights, Santillan dropped and eventually stopped Valetin in the second round.
The win earned Santillan a regional title belt and a number seven ranking by the WBO.
The 25-year-old from San Diego wants to prove he belongs amongst the best in the division, but also wants to get better with every outing.
“As of now, Valentin is the most skilled fighter that I’ve fought,” said Santillan, who is promoted by Thompson Boxing, the company that has promoted the likes of Timothy Bradley, Josesito Lopez, Mauricio Herrera, Yonnhy Perez, and current WBA junior featherweight titleholder Danny Roman. “I didn’t let (Valentin) shine or show anything. I tagged him pretty good in the first round so I knew I was going to stop him.”
Kemeh (19-2, 17 KOs) was making his U.S. debut after having fought his entire career in his native. Only two of his victories have come over those with winning records.
The impressive victory over Kemeh could put Santillan in a position where he could fight on a televised card or in an elimination bout. Santillan does not take these opportunities for granted.
“It’s a big responsibility to be ranked where I am. All future performances need to be memorable. I don’t have to get knockout win every time, but I do need to make sure to show all me skills. It’s a long process to get ranked and win titles. I’ve worked too hard to let this opportunity slip away."
In an eight round featherweight bout, Erick Ituarte (19-1-1, 3 KOs) knocked out Gustavo Molina (25-17, 9 KOs) of Mexico in the first round.