Santisima targets upset in US debut

THOUGH the odds are against him, the 23-year-old Jeo Santisima is optimistic in his chances of scoring a huge upset in his first crack at a world title and his debut in the US against WBO super bantamweight champion Emanuel Navarrete on Feb. 23, 2020 (PHL time) in the undercard of the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury fight in las Vegas.

“I’m very motivated because an opportunity like this rarely happens. I’ll do everything to beat him,” Santisima told SunStar Cebu. “Yes, this is my first time but I don’t feel any pressure at all. I just need to get acclimatized with the weather there. I think will be leaving on Feb. 8 or 10.”

Santisima just got a little over a month’s notice that he was chosen by Navarrete as his next challenger. However, he is confident that he’ll be ready and in tip-top shape by then.

“I’m doing fine. My conditioning is great. I’m slowly getting my weight,” he said.

Santisima has been keeping himself in shape at the ALA Gym, sparring with unbeaten KJ Cataraja, one-time world title challenger Jonas Sultan, WBO No. 6 rated super bantamweight Albert Pagara and Japanese Takayuki Sakai.

Santisima fought twice in 2019. He won an easy first round knockout of Indonesian Alvius Maufani on Aug. 17, 2019, in Ormoc City and then forced former Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) super flyweight champion Rene Dacquel to quit on his stool in the fourth round last Dec. 14 in Bogo City.

The 25-year-old Navarette, The Ring No. 3 super bantamweight, had an impressive run in 2019 with four title defenses. He started out the year with a 12th round stoppage of Isaac Dogboe in a rematch, followed it up with a third-round knockout of Francisco De Vaca, a third-round stoppage over Filipino great Gabriel “Flash” Elorde’s grandson Juan Miguel Elorde and Francisco Horta.

Santisima, ranked No. 4 in the WBO, is 19-2 with 16 knockouts, while Navarette is 30-1 with 26 knockouts. (EKA)