Monday, July 27, 2009
SBP graduate participates in U.S. Men’s National Boxing Championship
Mikey Santos, a 2005 graduate of St. Bernard Prep in Cullman, recently qualified for the U.S. Men’s National Boxing Championship in Denver, Colorodo. The twenty-one year old lightweight paid his alma mater a visit during the 2009 Alumni Reunion.
Santos surprised everyone at the school but his former headmaster, Fr. Joel Martin. “Mikey was a small fellow when he came to St. Bernard, I would not have imagined him a boxer,” Fr. Joel said. “However, he was dogged in his determination to reach the goals he set for himself, and after watching him recently in a match, I can see that with his self-discipline, talent, and love for the sport, he can be successful.”
“Manny Pacquia, a boxer in the Phillipines, has been my idol for years,” Santos said. “My freshman year, I decided to start training with the speed bag and punching bag in the dorm at St. Bernard. This is when I decided to pursue boxing.”
Santos competes in the Golden Glove and USA Boxing Tournament Cycles. He won the USA Boxing District Championship held in Tuscaloosa, AL, and recently won the Southeastern Regional competition held in Johnson City, TN, where he won the right to compete in the nationals held in Denver, CO.
“By chance I was able to train with Jorge Teron the #4 lightweight in the world. Now, when he visits in Birmingham, we train together before big fights,” Santos said.
Santos’ parents , Leonides and Anna Maria Santos, are big boxing fans but, grinning, Mikey admits, his mom is less of a fan when he is in the ring. “She comes to the fights, but she can’t watch.”
Santos was raised in Russellville, Alabama, where he grew up with his twin brother, Joseph, who also boxes, and his older sisters, JoEllen and Kim, all of whom graduated from St. Bernard Preparatory School.
Smiling, Santos said, “I remember my first fight. I walked into the arena, and the guys took one look at me and thought I was a wimp, so I had things to prove.”
“I have never been knocked out, but I did get hurt in a sparring session training once with Jorge,” claimed Santos. “Before every fight I tell myself, ‘You are a good fighter, and you have trained hard to be here.’”
Santos attends the University of Alabama-Birmingham where he is a Spanish major and is on the Dean’s List.