By Francisco Salazar
(Ontario, California) - Within the last couple of years, Giovani Santillan has gone from just another unbeaten fighter to an unbeaten fighter who might be a solid prospect.
On Friday night, he solidified his stand as someone to keep an eye on in 2015.
Santillan won a workmanlike eight round unanimous decision over Luis Solis at the Doubletree Hotel. With the victory, Santillan defended a regional title belt.
The bout headlined a five-bout "New Blood" card, presented by Thompson Boxing Promotions.
In his last bout on August 16, Santillan stopped Osenohan Vazquez in the fifth round in San Diego, California.
Solis entered the Santillan bout having lost this last two bouts; a close unanimous decision loss to Jose Roman, even though Solis dropped Roman down three times in the first round. On August 15, Solis lost an eight round split decision loss to Miguel Angel Huerta.
From the opening round, Santillan was able to keep Solis at bay, landing the more compact combinations to the head and body of Solis. On paper, Solis was the first real puncher on paper Santillan was facing, but he was never hurt as he continued to control a lot of the rounds with his pinpoint accuracy and effective ring generalship.
In the middle rounds, Solis attempted to rally, taking the fight to the southpaw Santillan and attempting to back him up. Undaunted, Santillan would thwart that rally by landing overhand left crosses to the head.
As the bout progressed, Solis looked defeated, trying to land one big punch as opposed to putting his punches together in the earlier rounds. Anytime he did mount an offense, Santillan kept him honest, connecting to the body or head.
All three judges scored the bout in favor of Santillan, 78-74, 77-75, and 79-73.
Santillan, who hails from San Diego, improves to 15-0, 8 KOs. Solis, from El Progreso, Yucatan, Mexico, drops to 14-5-4, 12 KOs.
Junior featherweight Isaac Zarate won an eight round unanimous decision over Fernando Samaniego. The southpaw Zarate (9-1-1, 1 KO) controlled the first three rounds by simply outlanding and outboxing Samaniego during those frames. Samaniego (6-1-1, 3 KOs) was able to repeatedly land right hands to the head of Zarate during the middle rounds, at times snapping Zarate's head back. Zarate tried to time Samaniego as he came in, but Samaniego would beat him to the punch or wisely tie him up. Both fighters had their moments in the final two rounds, although it looked as though Zarate landed the more-telling blows. All three judges scored the bout 79-73 in favor of Zarate.
Featherweight Fernando Fuentes stopped Erick Aguirre in the sixth and final round. It was all Aguirre (4-5-1, 2 KOs) in the first two rounds, as he beat Fuentes to the punch during most of the exchanges. Fuentes (5-3, 1 KO) swung momentum in his favor in the third round, when he scored a knockdown over Aguirre. Fuentes controlled the rest of the round, but Aguirre found some success in the fourth round by keeping his distance and landing from the outside. Fuentes swung momentum back in his favor in the fifth round, hurting Aguirre with a barrage of punches. Fuentes pursued Aguirre around the ring in the final round, as referee Ray Corona looked on closely. Corona saw enough as Aguirre was unable to defend himself, stopping the bout at 1:59.
In a bout featuring unbeaten Mexican flyweights, Francisco Lapizco won a hard-fought four round unanimous decision over Cesar Sustaita. Both fighters went at each other from the opening bell, each throwing and landing wide left hooks, with the occasional right hand to the head. In the first round, Sustaita (3-1, 3 KOs) dropped Lapizco with a left hook to the head. Not to be outdone, Lapizco (7-0, 2 KOs) dropped Sustaita with a left hook of his own in the second round. Lapizco landed the effective punches during the second half of the fight and seemed to have the energy of the two. Lapizco mixed his punches well, including attacking the bout of Sustaita. All three judges scored the bout 38-36 in favor of Lapizco.
In a battle of hard-hitting heavyweights, Mario Heredia won a four round unanimous decision. Both fighters had their moments in the fight as the action went back and forth with each passing round. McCrary (3-2, 3 KOs) stunned Heredia with a right uppercut to the head in the first round, while Heredia landed the more-telling blows in the second round. Heredia (9-1, 7 KOs) slowed down in the third round, allowing McCrary to land the more telling blows. Heredia seemed to get a second wind in the final round, putting McCrary on the defensive. Heredia won on all judges' scorecards, 40-36, 40-36, and 39-37.
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