SALEM, NH (April 9, 2016)- Revenge is a dish served better cold, and Alexis Santos savored the sweet taste of his after knocking out Daniel “The Mountain” Martz in the seventh round to capture the vacant IBO International Heavyweight Championship in the main event of the “Heavyweight Showdown” live pro boxing card at Rockingham Park Saturday night.
In the highly-anticipated rematch that Santos had waited almost two years for, the 26-year-old reigning New England Heavyweight champion defeated the fighter who had put the only blemish on his now 16-1 record as he upped his KO count to 14.
When they fought the last time, Santos blew out his knee in the first round but he fought on one leg until his corner threw in the towel when he couldn’t answer the bell for the fourth round. This time “The Pride of Lawrence, MA”, who stands 6’0″ and weighs 218 pounds, took some solid shots from the much bigger 6’7″, 243 lb. Martz and still gave better than he got.
With the packed and partisan Sports Club crowd energized and electrified and chanting his name, Santos finished the sixth round with a powerful right hand to Martz’ head, followed by a wicked left to the body. At 2:02 of the seventh round, Santos rocked Martz with combination punches that knocked him down for the 10-count and Hall of Fame referee Steve Smoger awarded Santos the knockout victory.
“It was an accumulation of body shots and whatever I could land over the top,” said Santos, who spent 14 months rehabbing his surgically reconstructed right knee. “They all took a toll on him. I could hear him cringing every time they hit his body. I finally got my revenge and it’s sweet. This is definitely in the top five feelings I have ever had in my life. .”
With this title in his possession and the world ranking plus bigger paydays that are sure to follow, Santos is well on his way to the sport’s higher echelons.
“That ‘s what I want. I said that I wanted 2016 to be my big year. The goal is for me to set myself up to have a better life. I don’t have much know and I want to be able to build my legacy. I don’t do this for the belts, I do this for a better lifestyle and to take care of my mom. This is my way out,” he said. “This is a big step up for me.”
Sean Farrelly, who is Santos’ manager, said that the dream is now for Santos to become only the second Latino and first Dominican American undisputed heavyweight champion by mid 2017.
Martz, who was invading from Clarksburg, WVA, dropped to 14-3-1.
In the co-main event of the night of live professional boxing presented by Big Six Entertainment, former national Golden Gloves and USA Team Boxing member Orlando Del Valle took his career one step closer to the brighter lights and bigger stages with a second TKO of the talented Josh Crespo.
Del Valle, who is represented by music mogul Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports, rocked his opponent with solid connections to the body and head that sent Crespo to the mat in the second stanza. When Crespo tried to get up and continue, he was out on his feet and stumbled to the ground again so referee David Greenwood stopped the fight 2:17 into the round.
Del Valle is now 21-2-O and Crespo slipped to 6-3-3 with the loss.
Super middleweight Russell “The Haitian Sensation” Lamour got back onto the winning track with a third round TKO over Borngod Washington, who had survived a knock down in the previous round when Lamour landed a series of punishing blows to his head. Lamour never let up when the action resumed, adding solid shot to the body, and it was too much for Washington, who slipped to 7-18. Lamour, the former New England middleweight champion, improved to 13-2-0.
Paul DeSouza, who also fights in the MMA ranks, took on Joseph “Chip” Perez in the lightweight division but remained winless in his boxing career, dropping to 0-10. Perez was the superior fighter from the outset and the referee halted the action in 2:48 of round two, giving Perez the easy TKO as he climbed to 12-3-2.
In a battle of middleweights, the previously undefeated Jason Kelly and Casey Kramlich battled through the first round but by the second Kramlich had turned the fight all his way and was inflicting plenty of body damage before Kelly’s corner threw in the towel at the end of the round. With the TKO, Kramlich improved to 3-0-1 while Kelly is now 5-1.
The night’s action started with Jaba Khositashvili (1-0-0-) making his debut as pro a successful one with his TKO win over Greg Thomas (1-8-0) in just 1:37 of the first round. The winner was the more aggressive of the super middleweights from the opening bell, landing punches and sending his opponent to the mat three times before the referee stopped the action.
IBO International Heavyweight Championship:
Featherweight: Orlando De Valle (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) def. Josh Crespo (New Haven, CT) TKO 2:17 Round 2
Super Middleweight: Russell Lamour (Portland, ME) def. Borngod Washington (Queens, NY) TKO 1:38 Round
Lightweight: Joseph Perez (E. Hartford, CT) def. Paul DeSouza (Somerville, MA) by TKO 2:48 Round 2
Middleweight: Casey Kramlich (Portland, ME) def. Jason Kelly (Dorchester, MA) by TKO end of Round 2
Super Middleweight: Jaba Khositashvili (Ahkalkalaki, Georgia) def. Greg Thomas (Philadelphia, PA) by TKO 1:37 Round 1