ONE-TIME world title challenger Jeo Santisima may have failed his first bid at a world championship at super bantamweight. However, he won’t leave the division unless he reaches his dream of becoming super bantamweight world champion.
Santisima will be fighting a 126-pound, tune-up fight this month in a Sanman Promotions event in General Santos City along with fellow former ALA Boys Melvin Jerusalem, KJ Cataraja and Esneth Domingo. But he won’t stay at featherweight but will drop down to 122 pounds after this fight.
“I’ll return to 122 pounds. I think I can still make the weight as long as I have the right preparation. I’m still rated at 122 pounds,” Santisima told SunStar Cebu.
After the Covid-19 pandemic broke out earlier this year, Santisima returned to his hometown in Masbate. He had no training there and ballooned way above his fighting weight.
“I was big. I was about 170 pounds. I had no training there,” said Santisima.
Santisima then signed with Sanman Promotions and ZIP Management and returned to Cebu to train under former ALA Boy and trainer Michael Domingo at the Phil-Aust Boxing Gym.
Santisima has made a lot of progress since and has dropped down his weight closer to his featherweight tune-up fight. He has been sparring with Rodel Wenceslao, Dave Peñalosa and Raymund Empic.
“His conditioning has returned,” Domingo said.
Domingo believes that Santisima needs a few more fights before he’ll be ready to fight for a world championship again.
“I think he needs two to three more fights to gain more confidence,” he said.
The 24-year-old Santisima feels the same way and thinks that he’ll be ready in 2021.
“Next year, I think I’ll be ready for big fights if I’m given the offer. I think there’s also a possibility that I’ll be training in the US. I would love to fight for a world title again,” he said.
Santisima is currently rated No. 8 in the World Boxing Organization (WBO), wherein Angelo Leo is the newly crowned titleholder of the belt that was vacated by Emanuel Navarrete.
“I think I can take him on. That will be a great challenge,” Santisima said of Leo. “I want to improve and become a world champion first before I want to fight the stars of the 122-pound.”
Santisima, 19-3 with 16 knockouts, challenged Navarrete for the WBO super bantamweight title on Feb. 22 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. He fought valiantly but was stopped in the 11th round by Navarrete.