Francisco “Chia” Santana by KNOCKOUT!

By David Martinez /

On January 9, 2015 at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, California, Santa Barbara native Francisco Santana (22-3-1 / 11 by KO) won the vacant WBA International welterweight championship belt with a first round knockout over previously unbeaten Kendal Mena (20-1 / 11 by KO).

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It didn’t last long, but it was a beauty with Chia scoring a first knockdown one minute and twelve seconds into the round. ¬†Thirty seconds later came the knockout, a picture perfect left hook as referee Jack Reiss didn’t even have to count with Mena flat on his back, out cold on the canvas.

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The fight was shown on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights with a large viewing audience, and because of the spectacular knockout, it made the ESPN Sports Center “top ten” highlight reel that night of top sports events.

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I have known Francisco Santana since he was a kid starting his boxing at the local Primo Boxing Club. In 2001 when I promoted WBC super bantamweight champion Willie Jorrin to Santa Barbara for a public workout and autograph signing, we let Chia, then 14 years old, spar a couple of rounds with the champ.  It was surely a delight for the hometown crowd that came out that day in support.


Chia has certainly captured a world wide crowd with his dedication and focus on what he does second best – the first being a loving husband and father – and that is boxing!

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