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Carlos Castro vs. Alexis Santiago on Feb.24 at Iron Boy 43

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Two of Arizona’s most exciting prospects will face off in a 10 round bout at Super Bantamweight, vying for the WBC USNBC title, live at Celebrity Theatre and via Iron Boy PPV at Local, undefeated prospect Carlos Castro (19-0, 8KO) will put his ‘O’ on the line in his toughest fight to date versus Alexis “Beaver” Santiago (21-5-1, 8KO).

Both fighters cut their teeth in South Phoenix gyms as kids. Castro began his boxing career at the age of seven, amassing over 180 amateur fights, and three national Silver Gloves championships training under the tutelage of Andrews Soto at Knockout Boxing Club, where he still trains today. Santiago trained with trainer Rudy Mata as a kid, and then trained with Soto, racking up over 130 amateur fights. He now trains with Rafael Ramos at Mayweather Boxing Gym. This bout brings Santiago full circle back to Celebrity Theatre, where he made his professional debut in 2009. Castro would debut three years later at the Celebrity, where he’s fought a majority of his fights.

The two fighters are friends, (as friendly as two opponents can be). The two have been sparring partners, and both plan to capitalize on this experience to best the other. At a recent press conference, the two were reticent to trash talk each other. “He knows me, and I know him,” said Castro of his opponent. “I know his mistakes, and he knows my mistakes. It is just going to come down to who capitalizes on the other’s mistakes better. We’ve known each other for a long time, but this is business. We’re friends and all, but as soon as we get into the ring, friendship is over. He knows that, and I know that.” Castro acknowledges that Santiago has faced stiffer competition during his career.

Asked whether his experience will be an issue for Castro, Santiago said “I’ve been in the ring with great fighters, two-time world champs. I know what it’s like to fight in that situation, so we’re going to have to see if he’s ready for that.”

If the crowd is any advantage, both fighters agree that Santiago has the edge. “It’s my town. Every time I fight at Celebrity Theatre, everybody knows how I pack that place. This fight is going to be nothing different. We’re going to bring everybody out, and put on a great show for everybody.” Castro vows not to be deterred. “This is what I’ve been fighting for. This is what I’ve been training for,” said the 23 year old.

When announced, the fight lit up social media in local boxing circles. Matchmaker Mike Sanchez was excited to put on a South Phoenix brawl. “It’s going to be a good fight. Beaver really thinks he’s going to win, and Carlos is ready for this test,” said Sanchez.

“I have worked with both of the boxers. When it was announced they were going to fight each other it was sentimental for me, but business is business,” said Coach Soto of the match.

“This is a great fight to kick off 2018,” said Iron Boy Promotions Promoter Roberto Vargas. “We’re expecting a sell-out crowd. Hats off to both fighters for not being afraid to fight the best in their hometown. We are going to work to put on fights like this one all year, and bring the best fights back to Celebrity Theatre.”

Tickets for Iron Boy 43: Castro-Santiago are priced $60, 40 and 30, and are on sale now at the Celebrity Theatre Box office, or by calling 602-267-1600. The fight will be available via pay-per-view.

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