It has been over two years, but “The Problem” will be back.
Adrien Broner will end his hiatus from boxing when he faces Jovanie Santiago in a 12-round super lightweight bout at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut in a Premier Boxing Champions event. A heavyweight bout between Dominic Breazeale and Otto Wallin will be the co-feature bout and in the opener, former lightweight champion Robert Easter Jr. faces Ryan Martin. All of these bouts will be shown live on Showtime starting at 9pm ET.
Broner (33-4-1, 24 KOs), the former four division world champ from Cincinnati aims to bounce back from his decision loss to Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas in 2019. He has he campaigned at welterweight and at super lightweight over the past seven years and goes back to super lightweight against Santiago, an undefeated fighter from Puerto Rico who will be in his first bout in the continental United States. His last bout was a first-round knockout victory over then-unbeaten Juan Zegarra in the Dominican Republic. Santiago has a win over former world champion DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley and has been ranked in the WBA at 14.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to step into the ring against Adrien Broner,” Santiago said. “I believe our styles are perfect for each other. But I feel like I have the skills that are necessary to beat him. I’m going to shock everyone on February 20th.”
Santiago steps in as an opponent for Broner replacing Pedro Campa, who was the original fighter slated to face Broner on that date. Campa had tested positive for COVID-19 but Broner still wanted to be in the ring. Once it was made official that Santiago would be his opponent, Broner was eager to fight.
“I can’t wait to get back into the ring. It’s been a while. This will give me a chance to display my talents and show everybody what they’ve been missing,’’ Broner said. “I’ve been training and working very hard and everybody will see all of that hard work come together on February 20 on SHOWTIME.’’
The co-feature bout has two world title challengers facing each other in Breazeale and Wallin. Breazeale (20-2, 18 KOs) has been in the ring against Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder in the past and the 2012 Olympian is now under the tutelage of Abel Sanchez. At 6-7, Breazeale looks to press the action in order to get the victory.
“Otto Wallin is going against a big guy who can punch and throws punches in bunches, so he’s going to be in trouble. I’m going to bring the pressure from the opening bell until the moment he hits the canvas.”
On September 14th 2019, Otto Wallin (21-1, 14 KOs) was in a battle with lineal champion Tyson Fury but lost by decision after building up an undefeated record. He responded with a stoppage victory over Travis Kauffman in August and wants to continue that momentum this year. He has been training under Joey Gamache in New York while representing the country of Sweden. Wallin’s work in the gym has him feeling that he has the upper hand in the matchup against Breazeale.
“I’m in great shape,” Wallin said. “Training has been going very well. I’m in a good place.”
Wallin thinks that he is well prepared for Breazeale’s style as he referenced how his opponent has fought in the past. “Breazeale is a tough customer that’s always in firefights and is entertaining to watch,” said Wallin. “I believe it’s going to be a good fight. I’m pretty sure that he’s going to try and come out and go after me, so I don’t think I’ll have to look for him. I believe I’ll be able to break him down and take him out.”
Robert Easter (22-1-1, 14 KOs) is going into his second fight at super lightweight, as he was successful in his debut at the weight against Adrian Granados. He had a run in the lightweight division which included winning a world title against Richard Commey before losing his only bout as a pro against Mikey Garcia. At age 30, the Toledo native is getting used to fighting at 140 and wants to show that he can be a threat to the top fighters in the division.
“The time away from the ring has helped me to get comfortable at the weight,’’ Easter said. “Martin has been active and he’s fought some good competition at 140 pounds, and I expect he’ll be at his best when we fight. But I’m going to be ready for anything that he brings to the ring on February 20th.”