By Vince D’Writer: In the DAZN main event, undefeated welterweight contender Giovani Santillan scored a 6th round knockout victory over Alexis Rocha (23-2, 15 KOs) on Saturday night, October 21st, at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California.
Coming into the bout, Alexis Rocha was the Golden Boy Promotions product who had high aspirations in regard to receiving an opportunity to fight for a world title. Rocha was the number one ranked WBO welterweight contender, and Giovani Santillan was ranked number five.
Both guys are from the Southern California area, and they know each other well as they have sparred against each other on many occasions. Rocha signed with Golden Boy out of the amateurs, while Santillan went through the ballroom show scene until he signed on with Top Rank.
On fight night, the 31-year-old Giovani Santillan walked to the ring and was greeted by a chorus of boos from the crowd. His opponent, 26-year-old Alexis Rocha, walked to the ring as the A-side guy and the fan favorite.
In the opening round of the bout, Santillan came out in aggressive fashion as the southpaw was pressing forward and consistently landing the chopping left hand. Santillan ended the round by landing some sharp combinations that resulted in a bloody nose for Rocha.
At the start of the second round, Rocha, who is also a southpaw, stood in the pocket and traded big shots with his opponent. The fan-friendly action carried on throughout the duration of the second round.
Rocha started the third round by going to the body, but Santillan continued to press forward. Rocha used his jab to set up his power shots while Santillan was punching around the guard and finishing to the body.
Early in the fifth round, Santillan landed a flurry of shots that sent Rocha down to the canvas. Rocha was able to get up, but in the final minute of the 5th, Santillan landed seven right hooks in a row, and as a result, Rocha went down for a second time.
Rocha was able to survive the fifth round, but things would turn from bad to worse in the sixth. Santillan proceeded to land a big left uppercut, followed by a flurry of shots that sent Rocha down for the third and final time.
With the upset victory, Giovani Santillan (32-0, 17 KOs) has changed the course of his professional boxing career. Santillan is planning on having a big year in 2024, and he already has an opponent in mind.
“I was watching Mario Barrios fight a few weeks ago. That’s the fight that I’d like. I know he’s got the Interim title, so anything that will take me closer to a world title, so he’s another guy that I would love to get in the ring with,” Santillan said during a post-fight interview with Fighthype.
Giovani Santillan pulled off a shocking upset to end the year on a high note. Recently, Mario Barrios scored an impressive victory over Yordenis Ugas and won the WBC Interim belt. A potential Barrios-Santillan clash in 2024 could be a very entertaining, action-packed, fan-friendly type of fight.