Uncasville, Connecticut- After a 2 year hiatus from the sport, Adrian ‘The Problem’ Broner returns to the ring and handed Puerto Rico’s Jovanie ‘El Lobito’ Santiago his first loss, winning by unanimous decision Saturday night. This was the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card televised live on Showtime from the Mohegan Sun Casino. The victory was the first of the former 4-division champion Broner in 4 years.
Broner started slowly, allowing Santiago (14-1-1, 10 KOs) to outwork him, throwing 99 punches through the first 3 rounds to Broner’s 57. The fourth saw things slightly tilt Broner’s way when Santiago deducted a point for landing a punch after the bell. This may have reinvigorated Broner, becoming a little more active and able to counter and pick Santiago’s shots.
Undeterred, Santiago still following and stalking Broner around the ring was largely ineffective throughout the second half of the fight. Despite landing 207 of 697 punches thrown (29 percent) to Broner’s 98 of 338 (29 percent), the judges scored the bout 116-111, 117-110, and 115-112, all in Broner’s favor.
After the fight, Broner credited his snapping jab and a focused camp with his trainer, Mike Stafford, and longtime friend and coach, Gerald ‘GT’ Tucker. “I felt like I beat him with the jab, honestly.”, Broner said.
Much was made of the last-minute weight change on Thursday from 140 pounds to 147. Broner said making weight would not have been a problem, although it was difficult with COVID protocols; he still plans on fighting at 140. “I’m definitely going back to the gym and I’m looking forward to getting one of those titles this year—at 140.”, he said. Broner’s record improves to 34-4-1, with 24 knockouts.
The undercard bouts
In a heavyweight bout, Sweden’s Otto Wallin, stamped his status as a top-15 talent in the division; this was due to a complete domination of former title contender, Dominic Breazeale. Wallin used his movement and footwork to establish his jab and effective countershots, that Breazeale had no real answers for.
After the fight, Wallin said, “I knew he that he was slower than me and doesn’t have the greatest defense always. I knew that I’d be landing my counters.” One of those left counters, in the sixth round, landed on the right eye of Breazeale (20-3, 18 KOs), causing some serious swelling. Breazeale found a little success in the ninth and tenth rounds, landing some solid uppercuts, but it was not enough. Wallin won unanimously on all 3 scorecards, 117-111, 116-112, and 118-110. Wallin’s record moves to 22-1, with 14 knockouts.
In his first fight in 15 months, former lightweight champion Robert Easter Jr. was sensational in his super lightweight victory against Ryan ‘Blue Chip’ Martin. Easter used his speed and length advantage to cruise to a unanimous decision.
In most of his fights, Easter has had a penchant for fighting in close quarters instead of using his jab and reach an advantage. That was not the case this time, as he threw 539 punches, most of them were jabs (339). During the bout, Easter did sustain his career’s first cut due to a clash of heads in the eighth round. Martin (24-2, 14 KOs) did have a spurt in the eighth round after being admonished by his trainer, Mark Ferrait, for not doing enough. The judges scored the bout 117-111 and 118-110 twice.
In only his second fight at his new weight class, Easter put the division on notice. “Me and AB (Adrian Broner), we’re coming to stir up the 140-pound division and that’s that,” he said. Easter improves to 23-1-1; of which 14 are knockouts.