On Friday night, February 7th at the National Guard Armory in Northeast Philadelphia, 17 year-old Milton Santiago Jr. will make his anticipated pro debut against Moses Molina in a Jr. Welterweight bout.
Santiago of Warminster, Pennsylvania had an amateur record of 184-12 and won a staggering 59 tournaments is ready for the occasion.
“I feel great and this is a dream come true. I believe that I am the youngest professional in Pennsylvania.”
Santiago has been preparing with professionals and is not worried about going into the paid ranks.
“I spar with a lot of professionals,” said Santiago. “They are all grown men and I beat them up. I feel I am very strong and I am ready to turn pro.”
Santiago started boxing at 5-years old and had his first fight at 8.
The Junior at William Tennant High School is will have some support from the faculty from the school.
“My English teach will be at the fight. When some of my teachers found out what I do, they were happy for me and shocked. Boxing helps a lot with school because it helps me stay focused with both studying and boxing.”
Santiago says he likes watching Floyd Mayweather, Andre Ward, Guillermo Rigondeaux and Felix Trinidad.
He also receives a lot of moral support and advice from some of the top professionals in Philadelphia.
“Hassan Young gives me good advice but I also talk with Jesse Hart, Bryant Jennings and Danny Garcia as well.”
Outside of the ring, Santiago is your typical kid as he enjoys playing video games with his brothers and playing sports in the neighborhood.
“I have been wanting to turn pro for a while now and I can not wait until February 7th.”
His dad, Milton Santiago Sr. is his trainer and explains his reasons for his son get the special dispensation to turn pro.
“This would have been his last year with headgear in the amateurs anyway. After January 1st, he would have had to fight without it.”, said the older Santiago.
“He isn’t your typical 17-year old. He spars very well with the older professionals. There have been promoters who told me they could not believe he is 17. He is so relaxed in the ring. To him it is just like unwrapping a candy bar. In fact sometimes in the corner, he has to tell me to calm down.”
Santiago will fight this fight at the 140-pound eight limit but he plans to campaign as a Lightweight.