Amsterdam, N.Y. (NEWS10) — “I’m bringing that belt back home. He ain’t stopping me. There’s no way this man is stopping me.”
Amsterdam boxer Raymond Santiago is set to make his return to the ring Saturday for the first time in two years.
After a TKO loss to Alex Vanasse on HBO in 2018, Santiago stepped away from the ring. He was up to 260 pounds and out of shape, but the pandemic gave him a renewed focus. There will be a lot of emotion for Santiago as he re-enters the ring to challenge GBO heavyweight champion Ronald Johnson in Orlando.
“It’s just been a long, long journey for me,” Santiago said. “I just can’t wait until Saturday, until I can give my strap to my son, my dad, to all my brothers.
“I’ve been doing this since I was 13. Everybody has kicked me under the rug. Now I’m about to be at the top. The guy I’m fighting, after I fight him and I beat him, I’m going to be ranked #10 in the world.”
Ray needed somewhere to train, so he turned an old nail salon in Amsterdam into his own personal training gym with the help of his family.
“This spot was empty. What you see here was empty,” Santiago said. “This was me and my little brother who made this spot because we knew for this fight, and to bring the belt back home, we couldn’t do this just doing it in a kitchen, a driveway, or in our garage.”
His family has always been in his corner, but his community’s support is the latest motivator for the 26-year-old.
“Please support your local businesses because they support your local fighter.”
Santiago’s pay per view event is available on Viva Live TV.