By Kurt Wolfheimer at ringside
Friday night at the National Guard Armory in Northeast Philadelphia, seventeen year old highly decorated amateur superstar Milton “El Santo” Santiago made his professional debut in impressive fashion with a picture perfect first round knockout of five fight junior welterweight veteran Moses Molina (1-5, 1 KO). In the co-feature of the seven bout card promoted by Greg Robinson’s Power Productions, undefeated super middleweight Derek “Take it to the bank” Webster upped his record to 15-0, 8ko’s with a one sided fifth round TKO over Julio Garcia (6-6, 3KOs). The card was matched by none other than the boxing diva, Renee Aiken.
A crowd of over 1,200 raucous fans were in attendance at the National Guard Armory for the highly anticipated professional debut of highly touted amateur Milton “El Santo” Santiago as he faced five-fight veteran Moses Molina of Bridgeton, New Jersey in the main event of the evening. Santiago, according to Promoter Greg Robinson was the first person to turn professional in the state of Pennsylvania at the age of seventeen in recent memory. Santiago had amassed several amateur titles and a record of 182-14 and many of those coming by way of stoppage.
The crowd was on their feet as Milton Santiago walked to the squared circle with his face covered by a wrestling mask made famous by the Latin wrestlers such as the legendary Mil Mascaras.
Once inside the ring, Milton was all business and looked tense, but confident. The crowd was abuzz as the opening bell rang and the two combatants circled the ring. Almost immediately the two junior welterweights stood toe-to-toe and slugged away. Milton was the faster and more accurate puncher and Molina was force to retreat. Santiago continued to walk him down and trapped him in the corner just moments later. Molina tried to fight his way out of the corner, but Santiago uncorked a heavy left uppercut under the ribs. Molina stood for a moment, before dropping to a knee in a delayed knockdown. Referee Steve Smoger reached the count of ten at 1:16 of the opening round, giving Philly’s own, Milton Santiago the well-deserved knockout victory.
“It just feels great to get to my first victory in front of my fans and this huge crowd right here in Philadelphia,” said the Jubilant Santiago who sported a smile a mile wide. “I knew I had him when I landed that uppercut to the body. I prepared hard for the fight and I am now ready for whatever is next.”
Eddie Woods the co-manager along with Moz Gonzalez could not speak any more highly of Milton Santiago. “He is such a great young man and we are so proud of him,” stated Woods. He is so talented and we plan to keep him busy. In two weeks, he will be fight down in Dover, Delaware at Dover Downs and right back two weeks later at the PA Sheet Metal workers hall in Philly.”
Lookout world here comes Milton “El Santo” Santiago.
Webster stops Garcia in five
Glassboro, New Jersey super middleweight Derek “Take it to the bank” Bank” Webster continued his winning ways with a solid fifth round stoppage of Julio Garcia of Rincon, Puerto Rico. Webster, a tall lanky southpaw used his superior reach throughout to land solid shots from the outside throughout. Webster was in complete control by the third round, stepping in and out with a variety of combinations as Garcia just could get into punching range. Whenever he did Webster would just tie him up. Webster boxed his way through the fourth round, saving energy for the final two rounds. It would not go the distance as Webster caught Garcia against the ropes and hurt him with a hard uppercut. Garcia tried to escape along the ropes, but Webster trapped him in the corner. All Garcia could do was cover as Webster unleashed five unanswered shots. Referee Shawn Clark stepped in and called a halt to carnage at 1:19 of the fifth round.
Folly batters Varela
Philly slugger Emmanuel Folly continued to lay destruction in the junior featherweight division with a one round beat down of a game, but out gunned Michael Varela of Bethlehem, PA. Varela and Folly went at it right from the opening bell, exchanging combinations. Folly’s hooks were more explosive and it forced Varela the back-peddle. Varela tried to hold his own, but Folly continued to bang heavy shots that had his opponent faced puffed up. Finally, Folly trapped him in the corner unleashed a double left hook underneath. Michael Varela slumped to the second ropes his hands dropped just as Folly banged a big right off his face. Referee Steve Smoger stepped in and called a halt to the contest at 2:52 of the opening round. Emmanuel Folly ups his record to 4-0, 3 KOs, while Michael Varela remains winless at 0-2.
Trader draws with Suarez
Frankie Trader and Israel Suarez fought to a close four round majority draw. Trader was the busier fighter throughout, but he would go into a defensive shell a certain points, covering his face with his gloves, which allowed Suarez to tee off without fear of retribution. Those moments made the fight hard to call. One judge saw it in favor of Frankie Trader, but he was overruled as the other two officials who had it 38-38 even, making the bout a majority draw. Fight News had 39-37 in favor of Trader. Frankie Trader moves to 10-1-1, 2 KOs while Israel Suarez slides to 4-3-2, 1 KO.
Anthony Flores successful in comeback
Exciting Philly junior welterweight Anthony Flores (10-4-1, 6KOs) shook off almost three years of ring rust in capturing a hard fought six round unanimous decision victory over Ramesis Gil (8-8-5, 5KOs). Flores had lost his last three bouts before the layoff, but looked confident and refocused as he entered the ring. It would not be easy on this night as he faced a difficult opponent in Ramesis Gil, who had squared off against many top prospects and owns victories over formerly undefeated fighters, Carney Bowman (16-0, 7KOs) and Luis Joel Gonzalez (9-0-1, 5KOs). Flores came out strong in the opening round, stepping in and out of the pocket with solid two punch combinations and strong jabs, using his superior reach. The thirty one year old Ramesis Gil showed his experience in cutting off the ring in the second, landing heavy hooks up top. Flores would not falter and played it safe while boxing while on the retreat. Flores seemed to regain his footing and began to step in and out of the pocket in the center of the ring again, landing with hard right hands up top and underneath. Gil would not back up and countered with a few hooks of his own but Flores was back to boxing effectively from the outside. Rounds four and five went back and forth as Gil pressed the attack with hard right hands, while Flores fought defensively while on the move. Flores was the busier fighter though, with lighter combinations behind his long jabs. Flores stepped up and unleashed much of his offensive weapons in the sixth and final round. The busy Philadelphian appeared to be on his way to a much needed victory, Gil continued to attack and found his mark, stunning Flores with two big right hands as both traded. However, there was no time to capitalize as the bell sounded. All three judges saw the bout in favor of Anthony Flores by scores of 59-55 x2 and 58-56 respectively, giving him the hard fought unanimous decision victory. “He was a tough guy for my comeback, but I wanted a challenge and it showed I am right back in the mix,” said the satisfied Anthony Flores afterward.
Dubose dominates Haigood
Undefeated Philly featherweight Antonio “Tony the Tiger” Dubose continued his winning ways with a dominant four round unanimous decision victory over San Diego, California’s Michael Haigood. Dubose was the aggressor and had some trouble finding openings on the defensive minded and retreating Haigood in the early going. The lack of offense from Haigood would not frustrate Dubose, who began to find his mark with uppercuts and straight shots in the second, while the winless Californian retreated around the ropes. Haigood upped his speed, as he went on the bicycle, skirting around the ring while throwing a few wild counters. Dubose cornered him late and dropped him with a right on the button. From that point until the final bell Haigood was on the bicycle, circling the ring in survival mode. Dubose cornered him a few times, but was unable to land the telling blow, so the fight went to the scorecards. One judge saw the bout 40-34, while the other two officials had it 40-35, all in favor of Antonio Dubose, for the one sided unanimous decision victory. Antonio Dubose moves to 4-0, 2KOs, while Michael Haigood falls to 0-2.
Staton outworks Eroza
In the opening bout of the evening, undefeated junior welterweight Sultahn Staton went the distance for the first time a professional, upping his record to 3-0, 2KOs with a one sided four round unanimous decision victory over winless Puerto Rican, Mike Eroza (0-2). Staton rocked Eroza in the closing moments of the second round. Eroza clinch until the bell sounded. The undefeated Philadelphian knew that Eroza had recovered and began to step back and time Eroza coming in with sharp shots. Late in the fourth and final round Eroza caught Staton with a good right hand, but he could not land anything else clean. Staton easily boxed his way until the final bell. All three judges saw the bout 40-36 in favor of Sultahn Staton.