Dawson Defeats Harding, Santiago Stops Devictoria

SANTA YNEZ, Calif. (June 2, 2006) – Thirty seconds into the biggest fight of his life, undefeated Chad Dawson sat on the canvas and saw a title shot flash before his eyes. Undeterred, the World Boxing Council (WBC) No. 7 light heavyweight contender got up and dominated champion Eric Harding en route to capturing the North American Boxing Federation (NABF) 175-pound crown with a 12-round unanimous decision Friday on “ShoBox.” In the co-feature from the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif., unbeaten Mario Santiago won the USNBC featherweight title by recording a seventh-round TKO over Lenny DeVictoria.

SHOWTIME televised the Gary Shaw Productions doubleheader at 11 p.m. ET/PT. The telecast represented the 77th in the popular “ShoBox” series, which debuted on SHOWTIME in July 2001. The exciting night of boxing also marked the 11th time that a “ShoBox” broadcast took place at Chumash.

Dawson (22-0, 1 NC, 15 KOs), of New Haven, Conn., by way of Hartsville, S.C., won the WBC elimination bout by punishing Harding with a dominant right hand, and causing his opponent to bleed from the lower lip and left nostril. The newly-crowned NABF champion landed the hardest punch of the evening when a brutal right uppercut snapped Harding’s head back in the ninth round. Judges Fran Bechan and David Denkin both scored the bout 117-110, while Marshall Walker had it 116-111.

“We had a great game plan,” Dawson said. “I did not get the stoppage I wanted, but I did work hard for this victory. I came out and executed the game plan that (trainer) Dan Birmingham had for me. It feels great to defeat a fighter that I looked up to when I was growing up.”

Less than one minute into the battle of southpaws, Harding caught Dawson with a left hook to the head and sent the unbeaten fighter to the seat of his pants for only the second time in his pro career. However, the taste of leather and mat only increased Dawson’s motivation.

“It was a flash knockdown,” Dawson said. “Harding caught me with a good shot, but it was the only mistake I made all night. Getting knocked down just makes me meaner.”

In his “ShoBox” debut, Dawson won the vacant North American Boxing Organization (NABO) title with an 11th-round TKO over Ian Gardner on Nov. 18, 2005. After a slow start, Dawson scored four knockdowns to win impressively.

Harding (23-4-1, seven KOs), of West Hartford, Conn., via Philadelphia, started strong, but was unable to withstand the power and youth of his opponent. Showing the savvy of a ring-tested veteran, Harding opened a cut over Dawson’s right eye late in the fight. In his previous two starts, Harding won the United States Boxing Association (USBA) and NABF 175-pound crowns with victories over David Telesco and Daniel Judah, respectively.

“ShoBox” analyst Steve Farhood was impressed with Dawson’s performance and said he is ready for a world title shot.

“Dawson was just too fast, too eager and too poised for Harding,” Farhood said. “The light heavyweight division is conquerable. I would not hesitant to put him in with one of the world champions.”

Santiago (15-0, 10 KOs), of Ponce, Puerto Rico, dominated from the outset and had no trouble with the overmatched DeVictoria. Following a barrage of punches against the ropes early in the seventh round, referee Dr. James Jen Kin halted matters at 0:51. At the time of the stoppage, Santiago led 59-54 on all three scorecards. The only blemish occurred when Jen Kin took a point away from Santiago in the sixth for low blows.

“I showed people that I can box a little more and use the jab,” Santiago said. “I give my performance a seven or eight. I always have something to improve and am never satisfied.”

In his second “ShoBox” appearance, Santiago recorded his fourth consecutive knockout. During his SHOWTIME debut on Oct. 21, 2005, Santiago picked Cornelius Lock apart en route to a fifth-round knockout from Santa Ynez.

DeVictoria (8-4, two KOs), of Philadelphia, had won five out of his last six starts prior to initial television appearance. In his last outing, DeVictoria scored a fourth-round TKO over Yamin Mohammad on Feb. 16, 2006, in Uncasville, Conn.

“ShoBox: The New Generation,” which debuted on SHOWTIME in July 2001, features up-and-coming prospects determined to make a mark and eventually fight for a chance at a world title. A number of fighters who have appeared on the series have gone on to become world champions, including Jeff Lacy, Ricky Hatton, Juan Diaz, Leonard Dorin, Joan Guzman and Scott Harrison.

Nick Charles called Friday’s action from ringside, with Steve Farhood serving as expert analyst. The executive producer of the telecast was Gordon Hall, with Richard Gaughan producing.

For information on “ShoBox: The New Generation” and SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecasts, including complete fighter bios, records, related stories and more, please go the SHOWTIME website at

Article posted on 03.06.2006

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