Leo Santa Cruz
|Birthdate||August 10, 1988|
|Birth Place||Los Angeles, CA|
|Record||Won 24 / Lost 0 / Drawn 1 / 14 KO's|
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The younger brother of former interim world lightweight champion Jose Armando Santa Cruz, “Teremoto” followed his sibling into the gym, and his talent was evident almost immediately. Add in his power and work ethic, and it was clear that Santa Cruz had the right stuff to make it big in the fight game.
Turning pro on October 13, 2006 with a second round knockout of Pedro Silva, Santa Cruz was extended to a draw in his second bout three months later against Rodrigo Hernandez, but since then, no one has come close to beating him.
Willing to test himself against the best available competition, Santa Cruz put together a string over wins over veterans like Jose Bernal and Juan Beltran, as well as fellow prospects Jonathan Velardez and James Owens. This on the job training put him in good stead when he faced Jamoye in Veracruz, Mexico, on March 26, 2011, as he fought like a seasoned pro in winning his first pro title.
But he was just getting started, as he knocked out longtime contender Jose Lopez in just five rounds three months later, and followed that defining victory up with stoppages of Everth Briceno (TKO 11), Jorge Romero (TKO 3), and Alejandro Hernandez (TKO 4). But one of his most impressive outings was yet to come, as he scored a near-shutout win over Malinga to earn his first world title.
On September 15, 2012, Santa Cruz was at his ferocious best against former world champion Eric Morel in Las Vegas, and he stopped the Puerto Rican star in five rounds, not just successfully defending his title, but handing Morel the first knockout loss of his career.
Santa Cruz returns to action on November 10 to face Victor Zaleta at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.