By Ron Valderrama: Professional Boxing returns to Phoenix this Friday September 2nd when Alma Carrasco Canez in association with Estrella Promotions host "Duelo De Campeones" (Duel of Champions) at the El Zaribah Shriners Auditorium.
The main event will features rising sensation Alexis "Beaver" Santiago (9-1-1, 3KO’s) against Steven Johnson in a scheduled six round fight in the super bantamweight division. Santiago has been getting the attention of boxing fans in Arizona as well as the Southwest after his bid for the WBC Youth International Bantamweight Title ended in his first loss to Randy Caballero at Fantasy Springs Casino in California earlier this year.
“I have been training hard and improving my skills”, said Santiago. The loss still nags at him but he knows that he has a bright future ahead of him and he is getting noticed.
Alexis "Beaver" Santiago is proof that if you work hard you can achieve anything. He grew up in one of the toughest hoods in Phoenix, yet this kid sets an example for other young kids who look up to him. He says he owes it to his parents who lead by example and supported him all the way together with a family that watch out for him.
Since his first loss ‘Beaver’ has added yet another win under his belt by beating Manuel Galaviz in an impressive second round knockout last month. As of late, Santiago has been spending more time in the gym as well as a trip to Las Vegas to spar with Top Ranks prospect Jesse Magdaleno. ‘Beaver’ said it went very well and continues to improve everyday. “I’m serious when it comes to boxing, when I have a fight you can find me in the gym the next day working on making improvements, said Santiago.
Alma Carrasco Canez has also lined up an impressive undercard showcasing one of my favorite’s, Super bantamweight Fernando Samaniego jr.(2-0, 1KO) a young kid with mean right hook will be taking on Raymond Torres in a four round co-main event.
Abel Ramos will make his pro debut against Derick Lopez in a four round match up. Ramos should fit right in the mix of valley fighters who appear to be on a mission.
Paul "Ziggy" Romero also makes his pro dubut in a four round bout with Erick Henson who lost to Emilio Garcia in June. Henson put up a good fight against Garcia in that fight and hopes to improve to 1-1.
Victor Castro will battle Thomas Herrera in a light welterweight four rounder, Castro has two fights under his belt and both by impressive knockouts. Asuncion Medina will take on Julio Rodas in a four round fight, and Julio Pinal will scrap with Cesar Valenzuela in a four round bout. Alma Canez also said that she has one fight pending and hoping to add Dashon "Fly boy" Johnson (13-4, 4KO’s) taking on Arturo Brambila.
Top Rank prospect Jose Benavidez Jr. will be on hand at the fight to sign autographs and photos with his many fans here in Phoenix. This kid is a class act, this writer asked his father Jose Benavidez Sr. how Jr’s hand was doing? The hand is fine and he is training hard and staying focused at the Wild Card Gym, he said. Jose Benavidez Jr’s PR Person, Emily Pandelakis is giving SecondsOut one on one time with Benavidez Jr. at Thursday’s weigh-in. Jose Benavidez Jr. jumps in the ring on September 17th at the BlueWater Resort and Casino in Parker and will be televised on Fox Sports.
It should be a great night for Valley Boxing fans, said Canez. The Arizona boxing scene appears to be on the rebound with some great promoters giving boxing fans some quality fights. This writer asked Alma Canez how she started promoting. Canez said one of her best friends, Fernando Samaniego and father of boxer Fernando Samaniego jr. was frustrated with the lack of fights in Arizona and how Jr’s pro debut kept being cancelled. He said in a joking manner "you should get your promoters license", so I decided to give it a shot. Canez said she is a paralegal and read all the rules and regulations obsessively, sent in my application and went before the commission.
Photo-Courtesy Estrella Promotions
August 31, 2011