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Santiago Promoter Looks To Continue Last Week’s Success In Japan


The promoter of Alexandro Santiago has had quite a week and believes it will continue.

Santiago makes the first defense of his WBC bantamweight title on Saturday, February 24, in Japan against the No. 1 ranked challenger for his belt Junto Nakatani. 

Santiago won that title last summer against future Hall of Famer Nonito Donaire on the Errol Spence vs. Terence Crawford undercard.

Nakatani is a two-division world champion, looking to be three. Yet for Santiago, who has a record of 28-3-5, 14 KO, the sentiment around the 28-year-old Mexican champion is that he has always been the underdog. 

His team believes his five draws have all come from having to fight in the opponent’s hometown. Most would be hesitant to face Nakatani, who holds a record of 26-0, 19 KOs. Nakatani has an aura that he could be a Hall of Fame trajectory fighter but Santiago has embraced the challenge. 

Santiago’s promoter, Paco Damian told BoxingScene from Japan: “I believe Santiago will win this fight, he trains very hard. This is a very difficult fight. I told him he is the most difficult and dangerous opponent for Santiago, and Santiago really wanted it. He wanted to show the world the type of champion he is.”

Damian, from Woodland, California, broke his teeth in the business with boxing legend Don Chargin and he routinely credits Chargin with his success and still keeps Chargin’s name on the poster for the regional fights he promotes as a tribute. 

Damian has stayed busy, not unlike his mentor’s ‘war-a-week’ moniker. He had Jesus ‘Ricky’ Perez upset Joseph Diaz, Daniel Lugo fought former world champion Mauricio Lara to a draw, and Ramon Cardenas, who he co-promotes with Sampson Lewkowicz, stopped Israel Rodriguez Picazo in the sixth round after Picazo suffered a jaw injury and couldn’t continue. That was all last week.

Damian is on quite a run as a promoter and hopes that continues into this weekend. 

“We had an amazing weekend, no one gave me a chance with JoJo against Perez, but my mentor was one of the best in the history of boxing – Don Chargin,” Damian added. “He taught me that styles make fights.”

Damian knows it will be tough against Nakatani, but believes Santiago has what it takes to make a successful title defense. 

Damian will not just have the main event fight but also has Christian Bacasegua who faces Japan’s Kosei Tanaka for the vacant WBO super flyweight title. Damian believes his fighters will surprise everyone and that two upsets will occur and reflected on the feeling of giving fighters opportunities at the highest level. 

“For me, offering a fight that is meaningful and a fight that can change their boxing career and their life, that is what I love, and that is why I am in the sport,” he continued. “I was able to help people who don’t always get opportunities.

“Giving these opportunities to these fighters from [Daniel] Lugo to Ricky Perez, I see how difficult the fighters have it if they don’t have a big promoter or big platform – it is hard to fight regularly. At least they will know when and where they will be fighting. They can train for that date. I think that as a promoter, I can put on the best shows once I know the date and am ready to promote. The same goes for the fighters.”

Santiago is currently riding a four-fight win streak heading into this bout. Southpaw Nakatani has never lost to a professional. 

Damian believes his ability to pull off upsets from the ‘b-side’ will continue on Saturday night.

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