Yan Santana settles at 126 pounds ahead of his clash against Brandon Valdes – The Ring

by Francisco Salazar | 

Yan Santana has made it a point to listen to advice given by one of the greatest fighters in recent memory.

So far, that advice has paid off – and more.

Santana, one of the top prospects in boxing, will face Brandon Valdes tonight at the James L. Knight Center in Miami Beach, Florida. The 10-round featherweight bout will take place on the undercard of the Teofimo Lopez-Steve Claggett world title fight and will stream live on ESPN Plus (5:45 p.m. ET/ 2:45 p.m. PT).

At Friday’s weigh-in, both fighters weighed in at 127 pounds.

The 24-year-old Santana (11-0, 11 knockouts), who resides in La Romana in the Dominican Republic, last fought on April 6, stopping Rodolfo Hernandez Montoya in the fourth round. In his previous fight on November 10, Santana knocked out Ernesto Franzolini in the third round.

Santana has fought as high as 133 pounds, with a majority of his fights taking place at or near 130 pounds. After discussions with his team, Santana believes it was best to campaign at 126 pounds.

“I do feel stronger at 130 pounds, but I think it’s best to fight as a featherweight,” Santana told The Ring Wednesday. “I do feel comfortable, dangerous and agile at 126 pounds.

“I prepared for this training camp. We are approaching this, round by round. I’m not looking for the knockout, but if the opportunity comes and it is there, I will go for it.”

Santana recently signed a promotional deal with Cotto Promotions. He has had the fortune of staying busy, having fought four times in 2023.

Having Miguel Cotto, a former world titleholder in multiple weight classes, promote him is one thing, but to have Cotto sit ringside for his fights and provide guidance for his career has been beneficial for Santana.

“It’s been a privilege and an honor to be promoted by Miguel Cotto,” said Santana, who is managed by David McWater. “He has seen my talent. I’m a very humble person, so I feel grateful for the opportunity he has given me. He also personally reaches out to me and gives me great advice, whether it’s about boxing or life, in general. He’s a great person.

“I’ve learned a lot since going to Puerto Rico to train. The sport has come natural to me. I’ve improved a lot, mostly on my lateral movement. The condition has always been there because of my dedication to the sport.

Santana hopes to join several fighters from the Dominican Republic who have found success at the contender and elite level of the sport. Carlos Adames and Alberto Puello currently have world title belts, Hector Garcia is a former world titleholder at 130 pounds and Erick Rosa is a contender in the lower weight classes.

Unbeaten middleweight Euri Cedeño is also fighting on the Top Rank card. Santana believes Dominican fighters would add great value to any promotional company.

“Dominican Boxing is relishing in its moment,” said Santana. “It’s great. The success of fighters from the Dominican Republic shows because of our discipline in the gym. All we need are those stages and platforms, which I’m very fortunate to have with Cotto Promotions.

“I like fighting often and, if I could, I would fight every month. That’s what I would want. It keeps me, and other fighters motivated. Dominican fighters work hard in the gym and we are very dedicated.”

After a decorated amateur career, Santana believes the best is yet to come as a prizefighter. He appreciates the opportunity to fight on an ESPN platform to showcase his skillset.

“I won tournaments as an amateur. I thought I would have an opportunity in the Olympics, but the COVID pandemic came. The Dominican team decided to take fighters that I beat in the amateur ranks.

“It’s great getting the type of opportunity I am getting for (Saturday). I’m going to seize this and make the most of it. God has given me this talent and I’m very motivated to do my part and win impressively.”

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]

Source link: Yan Santana settles at 126 pounds ahead of his clash against Brandon Valdes – The Ring