Santisima faces Osawa in Japan

JEO Santisma makes a crucial ring return on Aug. 14 in a fight that could dictate his future in the sport.The 26-year-old Santisima takes on fellow one-time world title contender Hiroshige Osawa in an eight-rounder at the Edion Arena in Osaka, Japan.“This is a very important fight for me. I need to win this fight if I want to return fighting in the US and that I’ll move up the rankings. I’ll do everything to win this fight,” Santisima told SunStar Cebu.Santisima, a former ALA Boy, is coming off ninth round technical stoppage defeat to Joet Gonzalez in a World Boxing Organization (WBO) International featherweight title fight on March 4 in Fresno, California.Despite the loss, Santisima is still ranked No. 15 in the featherweight division by the WBO.Osawa is an experienced former Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) featherweight champion. He won the belt with a split decision over Filipino journeyman Jonel Alibio in 2011.The 37-year-old Osawa challenged then WBO featherweight king Oscar Valdez in 2016 in Las Vegas. He was dropped once in the fourth round and was stopped by Valdez in the seventh.Osawa hasn’t for close to a year and last saw action on Sept. 22, 2021. He won a sixth round technical decision over Toshiyuki Takabayashi via a fifth round technical decision.Santisima has seen clips of Osawa’s highlights and believes that he can beat the Japanese veteran.“I believe I can beat him,” he said.Santisima is currently training under Michael Domingo at the Villamor Boxing Gym. He said that he’ll be looking for sparring at the Omega Boxing Gym and would most likely be sparring against Pete Apolinar, who also has an upcoming fight in Japan on Aug. 26 against K1 star Yoshiki Takei.Santisima is 21-4 with 18 knockouts, while Osawa is 37-5-4 with 21 knockouts.