Boxer Mira Mesa sets unbeaten record to test in hometown


SAN DIEGO – Boxing returns to Pechanga Arena on October 15 as a San Diegan makes his first appearance in his hometown in more than seven years in the ring.

Giovani Santillan puts his perfect 27-0 record to the test in a 10-round brawl against Angel “Relampago” Ruiz.

For Santillan, who grew up in Mira Mesa, boxing is part of the family DNA.

“I started boxing at the age of eight,” Santillan said. “My dad saw my brother and I hanging out right after school and he didn’t like it. He wanted us to be active.

This extracurricular activity has turned into more than two decades of training and nearly 80 amateur fights.

“From the day I stepped foot in the gym, it was something very serious for me,” Santillan said. “I really wanted to learn and improve.”

Alongside Gio this whole process is his father Guillermo, who is in the ring to help train his son.

“We have that connection and I think it’s different from most people I know,” Santillan said. “By spending so much time together in the gym, boxing has just evolved and our family has revolved around it so much.”

“Every day I finish working here, I go home and watch boxing,” his father said. “It’s a little boring sometimes for my wife.”

Santillan turned pro in 2012 and begins his next fight with an unbeaten 27-0. The fight at Pechanga Arena will be his first in his hometown in seven years.

“This fight means everything to me, especially being here in my hometown of San Diego,” he said. “I’ve only had one more fight here as a professional and doing it again on a bigger stage means everything and can really catapult my career.”

Although he hasn’t fought in San Diego for nearly seven years, Santillan trains and works as a coach at the East Village Boxing Club, never losing sight of his lifelong dream.

“At this point in my career, I want these bigger fights,” he said. “My next fight is very important for me to get there and get closer to a world title.”

His father said he wanted to see Gio be a “world champion”.

“This is his goal and this is my goal,” Guillermo said.

To learn more about Santillan, click on the media player at the top of the story.


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