In this Q&A session with Bob Santos, a thirty year veteran of the sport and one of the hottest trainers in the sport, we discuss the rise of boxing in the Dominican Republic and his role in helping take the Caribbean Island to unprecedented heights in the current era.
BoxingScene.com: Congratulations on a very successful weekend in Hollywood, Florida. What are your thoughts on the title winning efforts of your fighters, Hector Luis Garcia and Alberto Puello?
Bob Santos: It was a great night for Dominican boxing. Hector looked great again. He put his name on the map in February when he beat Chris Colbert on short notice. He trained less than 3 weeks for that fight. For Roger Gutierrez he only had a 5 week training camp. I expect him to be even more spectacular when he can have a full 8 week camp for his next fight.
As for Puello, we know he had a tough opponent but he is relentless. (Botirzhon) Akhmedov came to fight and he deserves a lot of credit but Puello showed why Josh Taylor decided to vacate his belt and not fight him. At 28 years old, he is in the prime of his career and will continue to show why he is the best fighter in the division.
BoxingScene.com: Garcia got off to a good start but Gutierrez showed his heart of a champion and had success in the later rounds. What is your opinion on the last few rounds?
Bob Santos: The truth is that I feel Garcia could have stopped him but he had such a big lead there was no need to take any chances. Guittierez is a good fighter and was a champion for a reason.
At the end of the day, Garcia dominated with only half of a training camp. Let’s see if someone like Shakur Stevenson will step up and unify with Hector who is a full fledged 130 pound fighter and not a blown up featherweight like Oscar Valdez. Give Hector a full 8 week camp for Stevenson and a lot of people will be surprised at the outcome.
BoxingScene.com: It was brought to my attention that it is likely the first time in history that the Dominican Republic has more champions than Puerto Rico and Cuba combined. Puerto Rico and Cuba obviously have a richer history in the sport but what can you tell us about the current state of boxing in the Dominican Republic?
Bob Santos: I believe that the Dominican Republic has always had good fighters but is only now getting the type of infrastructure needed to truly shine on the world level. They have produced champions in the past but now with local promoters like Shuan Boxing Promotions, more talented fighters than ever are coming through the pipeline.
In the United States, Dominicans haven’t traditionally received the same support as other Latino fighters but with my affiliation with Al Haymon and Luis DeCubas Jr, that is changing. We have had tremendous success with Garcia, Puello and Carlos Adames. Michel Rivera and Elivs Rodriguez are other Dominicans who work with PBC and look like future world champions. I believe Dominican boxing will become bigger and better and in the not so distant future.
BoxingScene.com: Any last thoughts?
Bob Santos: The plan is for Garcia and Puello to stay active and to land major fights in the very near future. We should hopefully have some announcements in the upcoming weeks. Adames is up next on October 8th against Juan Macias Montiel who gave Jermall all that he could handle last year. Look for him to be the next Dominican to shine on Showtime.
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