The hard working professional boxer, who has spent almost his whole career fighting as an underdog, sported Contenders’ Rocky II boxer briefs at the weigh-in for his fight against Olympic Gold Medalist, Felix Diaz in 2018. In many ways Contenders’ Fight Club all started with one man, Francisco ‘Chia’ Santana.
Given no chance by boxing experts, and coming into the fight as a staggering 14-1 underdog, Chia pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the year and in the process helped inspire us to start Fight Club, our official endorsement program for professional fighters.
Naturally, Chia was the first fighter officially signed when we launched Contenders’ Fight Club in early 2019.
Along with our current Fight Club members like Tyson Fury, Andrew Cancio and John Molina, it’s now reached the point that almost every weekend around the country and the world, fighters are hitting the scales sporting Contenders boxer briefs at their weigh-ins, including everyone from world champions to top ranked contenders to promising prospects to young fighters just starting their careers.
We are always honored when someone to chooses to have us be a small part of their professional journey but when we choose to sign someone directly to Fight Club, we don’t look at the fighter’s records or titles, we look to see if they have the same work ethic in and out of the ring and passion for the brand that Chia does.
So, now Francisco Santana is returning once again to the squared circle but this time it’s literally for the biggest fight of his 15 year career, and perhaps fittingly, he’s as one boxing writer put it, “an impossible underdog”.
Chia will be moving up in weight to fight former unified junior middleweight world champion, Jarrett ‘Swift’ Hurd in the co-main event of a fight broadcast live on Showtime from the world famous Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Hurd is coming off his first professional loss, in which he lost his world titles, and is looking for a “safe comeback fight against a smaller opponent”.
But we here at Contenders can tell you while Hurd may have an extreme size advantage and no doubt an amazing resume on paper, there is nothing “safe” about Franciso Santana.
He is a man who wakes up before the sun comes up to run, then commutes to work, then spends a long day outdoors working for the City of Santa Barbara, then commutes back home, then trains in the evening, and last but not least, still gets home in time to tuck his two young children into bed.
To top it all off, as relentless as he is in the ring, and yes, his take 2 or 3 head shots to land 1 body shot in return isn’t necessarily pretty, and is actually reminiscent of one of his favorite movie characters, Rocky Balboa (could we like this guy anymore!?!), Santana is a sweet, humble and giving human being who has spoken to school children who suffer from the severe stuttering he himself experienced as a child.
Chia literally represents everything that Contenders as a brand stands for… never giving up on your dreams, embracing the role of an underdog and inspiring others in process.
So, we invite you to tune into Showtime to see our very own, Francisco ‘Chia’ Santana because win, lose or draw… you are guaranteed to see a real life Rocky and a true Contender give it everything he has.
Francisco Santana fights Jarrett Hurd for the #1 Contender Ranking in the Junior Middleweight Division this Saturday Night, January 25th live on Showtime.
To order the ‘Rocky Beats Apollo’ shirt that Santana and his team will be wearing in the ring visit www.contendersclothing.com
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