Results from the Kia Forum Where Giovani Santillan KOed Alexis Rocha


By David A. Avila

INGLEWOOD, Ca.-San Diego’s Giovani Santillan powered through Santa Ana’s Alexis Rocha in a demonstrative performance before delivering a knockout win to rip the NABO welterweight and win the battle of Southern California on Saturday.

It was expected to be a battle between southpaws with different styles but Santillan (32-0, 17 KOs) surprised Rocha (23-2, 15 KOs) and his legion of fans at the Kia Forum with a come forward take-no-prisoners attack.

It was surprising.

From the opening bell the usually nimble Santillan moved forward like a Sherman Tank and plowed Rocha with powerful chopping lefts and right hooks. Few jabs were used and Santillan had the look of a killer.

It must have surprised Rocha who is accustomed to being the hunter, not the prey. He seemed puzzled and out of sync by Santillan’s powerful assaults.

In the second round Santillan kept control with those chopping right hooks as Rocha fired blows to the body in attempt to slow the San Diego fighter down. It didn’t work.

For years Santillan fought as a mover and counter-puncher while effectively using his power shots behind strong jabs. Not on this night.

Rocha tried his best to regain control and force Santillan to take a backward step. But the San Diego fighter who fought for many years on Thompson Boxing shows in the Inland Empire was like a Sequioa Tree that refuses to bend from howling winds.

After showing repeated strong attacks, Santillan opened-up with even more blows in the fifth round. A 10-punch salvo featuring bludgeoning right hooks blasted Rocha to the floor to the surprise of the crowd. Rocha got up bloodied and dazed from the attack. The referee let the fight resume and Santillan walked back in a crouch to attack. Another seven-punch barrage that featured five successive right hooks blasted Rocha to the canvas again. Rocha got up almost angry and rallied toward the end of the round with his own attack. The round ended.

In the sixth round Santillan had that look of determination and waded in with a controlled look and attack. The San Diego fighter opened-up with repeated right hooks including an uppercut and down went Rocha. Referee Ray Corona did not bother to count as the fight was concluded at 1:13 of the sixth round.

“It was the fight I was looking for,” said Santillan. “He’s very tough.”

Female World Title

Southern California’s Gabriela Fundora (12-0, 5 KOs) used her six-inch height advantage to perfection in snatching the IBF flyweight world title from Mexico’s Arely Mucino (32-4-2, 11 KOs) by knockout.

After an explosive first round that saw both fire away toe-to-toe, a left cross counter by Fundora stunned Mucino who immediately retreated. That blow seemed to signal the fighter from Monterrey, Mexico to take a more cautious approach.

From the second round until the end Mucino tried to force her way into firing range but Fundora used her jab as a measuring stick. And when Mucino fired a power shot Fundora countered with long left missiles. They seldom missed.

In the fourth round Fundora went into attack mode and in the fifth she connected with a left and right hook that floored Mucino. She got up shaky and the fight resumed with Fundora unloading five more blows that sent Mucino careening into the ropes. Referee Jack Reiss ruled it a knockdown and while giving the count, Mucino’s corner signaled the fight to be stopped at 1:18 of the fifth round.

Fundora becomes the IBF flyweight world titlist.

Super Fly Eliminator

Super flyweight contender John “Scrappy” Ramirez (13-0, 9 KOs) patiently analyzed Panama’s Ronal Batista (15-4, 9 KOs) before unloading a speedy barrage that signaled the end was near in the third round.

In the fourth, Ramirez stalked and unloaded yet another blinding barrage and then targeted the body with a left hook and down went Batista. He beat the count but was met by another Ramirez blitz that delivered the Panamanian fighter back to canvas. Referee Jack Reiss did not bother to count as Batista grimaced in pain.

The fight was declared over at 2:33 of the fourth round as Ramirez wins the WBA super flyweight title eliminator by knockout.

“You got to stay patient and make adjustments,” Ramirez said.


Southern California’s Ricardo Sandoval (23-2, 16 KOs) out-dueled Tijuana’s Victor Sandoval (37-4, 23 KOs) by unanimous decision after 10 rounds in a flyweight battle.

The Tijuana fighter’s unorthodox style seemed to befuddle the Southern Californian for three rounds, Then he found his rhythm and both fighters traded rounds with Ricardo Sandoval seeming in a more comfortable firing position. The judges scored it 97-93 twice and 96-94 for Ricardo Sandoval.

Super Middleweights

Somebody’s O had to go. Sacramento’s undefeated Joeshon “Showtime” James (8-0-2, 5 KOs) floored Pennsylvania’s David Stevens (13-1, 9 KOs) twice and was about to score another knockdown when referee Jerry Cantu ended the super middleweight demolition.

Both fighters walked in with undefeated records but only James walked out after displaying power in both fists. A right counter wobbled Stevens early in the round and a left put him down. Steven got up and was whacked around and delivered to the canvas again by a right cross. Again Stevens got up but was assaulted again and defenseless. Cantu saved the fighter from further punishment at 2:52 of the first round.

Female Pro debut

Iyana “Right Hook Roxy” Verduzco (1-0) lived up to her name with repeated right hooks against Clarice Morales (0-3-1) and rolled to victory by unanimous decision in a bout that became more competitive in each round.

After showcasing her polished boxing skills, developed after a lengthy amateur career, the southpaw Verduzco changed tactics and displayed excellent spacing and a different attack. Morales soon tired of eating right hooks and began connecting solidly with lead right missiles. They connected but weren’t enough to offset Verduzco’s consistent pinpoint attacks.

After four rounds one judge scored it 40-36 and two others saw it 39-37 for Verduzco.

Photo credit: Al Applerose