WBC USNBC bantamweight champion, Alexis "Beaver" Santiago ( 16-3-1, 7 KO's) defeated Hanzel Martinez (20-2, 16 KO's) last night before a capacity crowd at the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix. The championship bout was presented by Iron Boy Promotions and streamed live on www.ironboypromotions.com.
Santiago wasted no time, dropping Martinez with a hard right in the first round. The crafty Martinez survived the count, showing pure heart and fighting back.
Smart ring tactics by Santiago had Martinez frustrated as Santiago landed shots at will then quickly backing out, preventing Martinez the chance to counter with any real success.
A solid and constant left jab by Santiago began to take it's toll on Martinez by the mid-rounds. Following up with some precision combinations, Santiago kept Martinez on the defensive most of the night.
Martinez, a fighter with superb ring skills continued taking shots, but never gave up as he constantly moved forward on Santiago.
Into the later rounds, the two fighters continued exchanging blows at a pace mirrored in round one. Martinez had success in round seven, landing effective and crisp body shots, even cutting off Santiago at times. The champ displayed his ability to take a punch and remained focused, pinned at the ropes at times, Santiago always found a way to box his way out.
In round eight, Martinez continued to stay busy throwing punches, but Santiago would answer back with some effective counter shots that were scoring points.
With his eyes swollen, Martinez would continue to move forward on Santiago, showing pure grit and landing some of his punches, but Santiago was blocking most of them.
In the final round, Santiago landed some hard combinations on a determined Martinez, who could do little about the on coming barrage of punches.
In the end, Santiago was awarded the win and clearly out boxed Martinez. The judges scored the bout 98-91, 98-91 and 96-93.
For Hanzel Martinez, it was his second loss of his career, but he has nothing to be ashamed about, his performance was all heart and he will fight again.
The improved Santiago proved with no doubt that he deserves to be champion, he only gets better with every fight. Poise and focus makes Alexis "Beaver" Santiago a fun fighter to watch, he will surely move up in the rankings, as will the competition.