As the clock ticks towards 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on July 29, boxing fans from across the globe will gather around screens, filled with anticipation for the pay-per-view boxing spectacle to unfold. The PPV opener will feature Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz against the undefeated Giovanni Cabrera to determine the next title challenger for the WBC and WBA Lightweight Titles.
Added to the event is Nonito Donaire, an athlete who’s been there, done that, and got the boxing gloves to prove it. Donaire, a veteran of the game with a record boasting 42 victories, 7 losses, and 28 thunderous knockouts, is now setting his sights on the bantamweight belt once more. Fresh from his victorious knockout against Nordine Oubaali in May 2021 and the consequent sting of defeat in a rematch against Naoya Inoue in June 2022, he’s hungry for redemption.
Hailing from the scenic shores of Talibon, Bohol, Philippines, Donaire has been on a rollercoaster ride since his bantamweight journey began in 2018. From upsetting then-undefeated champ Ryan Burnett on his own turf to eventually losing his title in the nail-biting 2019 Fight of the Year against Inoue, Donaire’s story is one of resilience and determination.
Across the ring stands Alexandro Santiago, who’s ready to make some noise in the bantamweight division. Representing the vibrant city of Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, Santiago boasts an impressive record of 27 victories, 3 losses, 5 draws, and 14 knockouts. He’s stepping into the bantamweight ring for the first time on July 15, riding a wave of confidence from his three-match winning streak.
Looking back, Santiago’s history in the ring has been anything but predictable. His 115-pound championship clash with Jerwin Ancajas in September 2018 ended in a nail-biting split draw. However, proving his mettle, Santiago leveled the score by defeating Antonio Nieves last October.
Among the freshest faces on the block is Yoenis Tellez, the pride of Cuba. Training under Shields in Stafford, Texas, this 23-year-old boxer is the embodiment of raw talent and ambition, boasting a flawless record of 5 wins and 4 knockouts. Since turning pro in June 2020, Tellez has already tasted victory twice in 2023, including a recent clean sweep against Cameron Krael.
Spanish powerhouse Sergio Garcia, with a record of 34 victories, 2 losses, and 14 knockouts, is another fighter to watch out for. After bouncing back in April with a win against Ricardo Sebastian Cabana, Garcia is gearing up for his third bout in America on July 29. Despite a few past hiccups, Garcia showed his class by defeating Ted Cheeseman in the U.K. in 2019, followed by a victory over the seasoned Sergey Rabchenko.