LOS ANGELES – Giovani Santillan realizes that he’s on the brink of a breakthrough should he score a win against Alexis Rocha on Saturday at the Kia Forum in Inglewood while headlining a Golden Boy Promotions show on DAZN.

San Diego’s Santillan (31-0, 16 KOs) is promoted by Top Rank and pounded the table for the opportunity to face Santa Ana’s Rocha (23-1, 15 KOs) for an all Southern California welterweight scrap. 

“This is actually a fight that I asked for,” Santillan told BoxingScene.com in an interview. “I'm very excited and super motivated. A lot is on the line for both of us, especially with everything going on in the welterweight division. There's a lot to fight for. It's meaningful.” 

The 31-year-old southpaw Santillan is trained by esteemed coach Robert Garcia. Santillan set himself up for the clash against Rocha by scoring a points win against Erick Bone in July. 

“I've been doing this for 11 years and I've been waiting for an opportunity like this. I'm ready. These are the kinds of fights that I look forward to,” said Santillan. 

“This is the fight that I feel is going to take me to the next level to get big fights against bigger names. After this, people are going to know who I am. I'm going to win over the LA crowd.” 

Rocha is the WBO’s No. 1 ranked contender for undisputed welterweight champion Terence Crawford’s title. Santillan is ranked No. 5 by the WBO and is looking to supplant Rocha. 

“I want to be in the No. 1 spot for the WBO, and I know I have to beat him to get there to ensure a title shot,” said Santillan.

“I'm hoping to fight Josh Taylor. That would be a huge opportunity for me.”

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer, and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com, or via www.ManoukAkopyan.com.