HARD-HITTING Jeo Santisima finally gets his chance to hog the limelight as he trades leathers with Mexican Uriel Lopez in a World Boxing Organization (WBO) Oriental super bantamweight title defense in the main event of Pinoy Pride 45 on Nov. 24 at the IEC Convention Center.
“It has always been my dream to headline a Pinoy Pride event. Now, I’m here and I thank them (ALA Promotions) for the big opportunity,” he said in yesterday’s official event launch at the Summit Circle Hotel.
The 22-year-old Santisima is making a name for himself in the local scene and is also slowly climbing up the world super bantamweight ladder, now ranked No. 13 by the WBO.
“We want to give all of our fighters an opportunity to headline an event,” said ALA Promotions matchmaker Edito Villamor. “I think he’s ready for the opportunity if he’ll be offered a world title shot. But now, he’s focused on his title defense. His future will depend on this fight.”
Lopez is the interim World Boxing Council (WBC) Latino super bantamweight titleholder after winning the title with a second round stoppage of one-time world title challenger Juan Tostado Garcia. He also owns a win over another former world title contender in Ryo Matsumoto.
Santisima is 16-2 with 14 knockouts, while Lopez is 13-6-1 with six knockouts.
KJ Cataraja and Albert Pagara complete the triple-header with a pair of regional title fights.
Cataraja (8-0, 7 KOs) locks horns with Mexican prospect Hugo Reyes (9-1-1, 7 KOs) for the vacant WBO Youth super flyweight belt.
“Based on his record, he shouldn’t be taken lightly. I have trained really hard. This is one of my best preparations. This should be a huge test for me if I want to be there at the top,” said the 23-year-old Cataraja, a graduate of BS Criminology at the University of the Visayas.
Pagara (30-1, 21 KOs), on the other hand, defends his WBO Inter-Continental super bantamweight strap against Ghanaian George Krampah (14-3, 12 KOs).
“I’m slowly recovering from that loss (Cesar Juarez). I need to have more fights before I’m ready to face Juarez in a rematch. I need to have at least two to three fights before I return to where I once was,” said Pagara.
Former world title contenders Jonas Sultan and Arthur Villanueva are also seeing action in the undercard in a pair of 10-rounders.
Sultan (14-4, 9 KOs) trades leathers with Ardin Diale (34-12-4, 16 KOs), while the opponent of Villanueva (32-3, 18 KOs) is yet to-be-determined. (EKA)