Derik Santos has remained a mainstay of Florida boxing for close to thirty years. A former fighter, the now highly respected trainer guides many household names of combat sport, including MMA legend Vitor Belfort.
Santos discussed his relationship with Belfort and gave his assessment on ‘The Phenom’s future.
“I’ve worked with Vitor for years now, he’s a consummate professional and has very strong core values about not just sports, but life and I late greatly to those. Vitor defines the term professional athlete. I have rarely seen a more dedicated athlete, never mind in combat sports.
“Vitor really wanted to fight De La Hoya, and would still love that fight. I’d like to think he will fight again this year on possibly a Triller card. I’ve heard that discussed but don’t have any more details right now. What’s I can say is Vitor is in the gym, working hard, and still improving. So the team is ready for whatever challenge awaits.”
Santos is also is a key figure in the career of former WBO world super-lightweight champion Chris Algieri, and the Floridian opened up on the New Yorker’s professional mentality ahead of his bout with Conor Benn.
He said, “Chris, like Vitor is a world-class athlete. It’s well documented his nutritional skills, and his dedication to the science side of sports itself, however, he’s still an improving fighter in the gym and I believe that showed in his last fight.
“Chris has a great balance in between working here in South Florida and in New York with Keith Trimble whom I respect highly. I think Chris looked outstanding against Mikkel LesPierre and showed that he still has a lot more to give as a professional. He is still a problem to any of the top fighters at 140 and 147.”
“Chris has a championship mantra. He is what a real professional is and it takes someone real to recognize that I think. When people say it’s just business, it’s not like that for me. Both of these fighters are special fighters to have around the gym, and the journey I have had with them, along with many other fighters is very personal to me.”
South Florida has had a massive resurgence when it comes to professional boxing since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, arguably due to the lenient restrictions Florida imposes. Nevertheless, Santos has relocated basis himself, moving into the state-of-the-art Daru Strong Performance Gym in Boca Raton, Florida.
Santos provided reasoning for his facility change.
“So over a year ago I started having conversations with Former Boston Red Sox and league MVP Mo Vaughn of Vaughn Sports Academy and renowned S&C coach Phil Daru of taking of separate entities and bringing them together in a same complex. Two months ago Daru Strong Performance gym and DSBOXING gym were able to come together in an adjoining complex.
“We have 3 individuals who have worked at elite levels of our industries, have successful mentalities and attention to details. The dedication and the many aspects to achieve successes is something we share in common. Having individuals in your circle that our driven by good motives, and a want to make an positive impact with our athletes is a big deal to me.
“From the veteran professional to the young kids that embark in amateur sports that’s always meant a great deal to me. I’m a person who came up through police athletic leagues not only as an athlete but also as a volunteer coach for over a combined 15 years even while I was working with elite athletes in my professional career. So the we thought it a great idea, with my team at the helm, and having very competent staff members/coaches wecan continue to provide an excellent environment of options and resources from skill training, to training in neuro sciences, to strength and conditioning for our athletes.”