Angelo Santana and Joey Hernandez will take significant steps in their boxing careers Friday night. When Santana and Hernandez step into the ring for their respective bouts at Gulfstream Park, TV cameras will follow their every move.
Santana and Hernandez will have their first fights in front of a national TV audience. Hernandez’s junior-middleweight bout against James Winchester opens the Showtime telecast of its bi-monthly Shobox series. Showtime also will televise the card’s main event, Santana’s scheduled 10-round bout against Juan Garcia.
“I am truly honored that I will be fighting on television for the first time,” Santana said. “This indicates that the hard work and dedication is paying off.”
The 24-year-old Santana, a Hialeah resident since arriving from his native Cuba five years ago, is unbeaten in 13 professional bouts with 10 knockouts. Santana has gradually caught the attention of boxing’s power makers, such as Showtime and his promoter, Don King. Combining Santana’s early accomplishments and King’s influence, Santana now looks forward to making additional inroads in the 135-pound lightweight class.
“Don King’s support is allowing me these opportunities,” Santana said. “I never imagined things would be moving for me at this pace.”
Although Santana can adjust to fighting at a lighter weight class, his manager, Mandy Fernandez, believes the lightweight division is the ideal category to fulfill championship aspirations.
“The lightweight division has a deep proud history, and if Angelo can win his first world title as a lightweight, it will link him to that history,” Fernandez said. “We are extremely confident that Angelo will win a world lightweight title and he could have that opportunity very soon.”
Santana also envisions title rewards but acknowledges the immediate obstacle. Like Santana, Garcia, of Holland, Mich., is 13-0 (Garcia has two fewer knockout victims).
“I don’t know much about [Garcia] but I am ready to display my ability and potential,” Santana said. “This is the opening that could lead me to bigger things and I am going to leave everything in the ring.”
Hernandez (22-1-1, 13 KOs) and Winchester (15-5, 5 KOs) were not scheduled to fight on the televised segment of Friday’s card. But junior-middleweight Omar Henry, scheduled to fight Juan Cabrera in the original main event, withdrew Tuesday because of a gallstones-related illness.
“I’m glad my fight will be seen on Showtime,” Hernandez said. “Now people around the country will see why I have gained so many fans in South Florida.”
Friday’s six-bout show begins at 8. For information, call 954-457-6201 or visit www.gulfstreampark.com.