Despite facing numerous obstacles before his showdown against the celebrated four-time world champion Nonito Donaire, Alexandro “Peque” Santiago’s real journey as the WBC World Bantamweight Champion starts here.
On the night of July 29, under the spotlight of the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Santiago, hailing from Tijuana, Mexico, showcased his boxing prowess, clinching a unanimous win over Donaire, famously called “The Filipino Flash.”
This triumph was even more commendable, given Santiago’s personal challenges. He embraced fatherhood just two months prior, had the match date shifted abruptly, and endured the tragic event of his family home catching fire on June 30.
Santiago elaborated, “There was a fire. It engulfed the upper floor where some of my family members were living. Luckily, fire services managed to control it, preventing the fire from reaching the ground floor where my parents and I reside.”
In his decade-long career, Santiago faced five disputed draws. Among them was the one against Jerwin Ancajas in September 2018. But for Santiago, every challenge fueled his desire for the world title even more.
Recalling the fire incident, he said, “It occurred around 1 am. I had sparring plans in San Diego the next day, but had to halt to assist my family. Yet, my eyes were on the prize. My setbacks only fueled my ambition, making me strive harder.”
Post his win, Santiago returned home to heartwarming cheers and celebrations. “Many family members couldn’t attend my match. So, coming home to them celebrating was surreal. It felt like a culmination of my life’s hard work.”
Santiago’s resolve remains unfazed. “Now that I’ve seized my dream title, I aim to retain it. The real grind starts now.”
Paco Damian, Santiago’s promoter, chimed in with praises. “Alex is uniquely committed. Adversities only make him more determined. Be it a flawed match decision or personal tragedies, he’s unstoppable.”
Co-promoter Sampson Lewkowicz added, “Consider training amidst your home’s ruins. That’s Santiago for you. A true champion in every sense.”
Santiago’s goals are clear: “I’m focused on rebuilding our home, keeping my title, and ensuring a secure future for my family.”