Home News Giovani Santillan, Taras Shelesytuk & Isaac Zarate all impressive at Path to...

Giovani Santillan, Taras Shelesytuk & Isaac Zarate all impressive at Path to Glory

Credit: Carlos Baeza / Thompson Boxing

Undefeated junior welterweight prospect Giovani Santillan (16-0, 9 KOs) was just starting to get warm when he knocked out Eduardo Rivera (9-2-2, 3 KOs) at the 2:28 mark of the first round in the “Path to Glory” main event. Santillan, from San Diego, walked right through Rivera’s defense and staggered him with combinations to the head and body.

“I told everyone that I wasn’t going to waste any time tonight,” Santillan said. “I wanted to control the ring from the start and I did just that.”

Santillan punched Rivera into a corner and unloaded powerful sets of punches that proved too much for him.

“He looked spectacular tonight,” said Ken Thompson, president and founder of Thompson Boxing Promotions. “We expect more performances like this in the future.”

In the 8-round co-main event, super bantamweight Isaac Zarate (10-1-1, 1 KO) cruised to a unanimous decision win (79-72, 78-73, 79-72) over Pedro Melo (12-7-2, 3 KOs). Zarate, a southpaw, used an effective jab to close the distance against the more experienced Melo. He charged forward for most of the fight and managed to land flurries at the end of almost every round.

“I wanted to come out aggressive and grab the early round momentum,” Zarate said. “He landed some good shots, but it didn’t faze me. I just kept to the game plan and got the win.”

Top welterweight prospect and former Ukrainian Olympian Taras Shelestyuk (11-0, 8 KOs) overwhelmed the slower Francisco Reza (13-12, 10 KOs), knocking him out at the 1:26 mark of the third round. In the first, Shelestyuk jumped on Reza early landing several combinations that produced a clean knockdown.

In the second, Shelestyuk tagged Reza whenever he wanted. By the third, Reza was visibly hurt and hoping to survive the round, but Shelestyuk kept the pressure for his eighth KO win.

Former Colombian Olympian Cesar Villarraga (6-0, 4 KOs) hardly broke a sweat during his knockout victory over Jesus Angulo (3-7, 2 KOs). Villarraga hit Angulo with a two-punch combination to the body and head that sent him crashing to the canvas. The knockout occurred at the 1:55 mark of the first round.

“He got a little sloppy with his defense and I took advantage,” said Villarraga, who is co-promoted by Thompson Boxing Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions. “I knew he was done when I landed that second left hook upstairs.”

Junior flyweight Gilberto Mendoza (5-4, 1 KO) of Modesto, Calif. handed Francisco Javier Lapizco (7-1, 2 KOs) his first professional defeat. Unanimous decision scores read 58-56, 59-55, 58-56. Mendoza showed solid technical skills, while Lapizco was unable to settle into his usual counter-punching groove.

Undefeated heavyweight LaRon Mitchell (6-0, 6 KOs) extended his knockout streak to six with a fourth round KO of Phoenix-native Chad Davis (5-13, 1 KO) on the opening bout of “Path to Glory.”

Mitchell, from San Francisco, worked the body early and often. He connected in the third with a powerful body shot that dropped the shorter Davis. In the fourth and final round, Mitchell delivered the knockout body punch at the :44 second mark.

“Chad’s camp came in talking a lot of trash so it was only fitting that I knocked him out,” said Mitchell, who signed with Thompson Boxing Promotions last year. “It was a sweet win.”