Many young professionals get career ideas from their parents, friends or maybe even school professors. Jose Santana Jr., a senior at the University of Dayton, became hooked on boxing at the age of 15 while admiring boxer Felix Trinidad. It wasn’t until he was finishing up high school at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio, that he realized he wanted to work in boxing for a living.
His dream in working in boxing professionally finally became a reality after his freshman year of college at UD. Taking lessons learned from classes he took freshman year, Santana decided to call a Cleveland radio station to see if any internship spots were available. “The classes I took as a sport management major really taught me how make connections, which sounds easy, but you try picking up a phone and calling a business executive who has no idea who you are and try to make friends with him,” said Santana. “It can be a nerve-wracking thing to do for an 18-year-old.”
He talked to Antonio Castro, who gave him the job of promotions assistant which entailed booking guests, helping plan the show and answering phones.
After writing for a small boxing web site, Santana was able to put together a portfolio and send it to a bigger boxing web site called SecondsOut, which is based out of London, England. After doing this, he was able to secure a writing position for them last June.
Securing an internship is a very important thing to do for college students and some, like Santana, try and get a head start early. The key time to start really looking for internships for the summer would be in the early spring, as companies are looking to fill positions and get training started before students are out of school. Although some companies still look for interns in the summer, it is best to go out and search actively early and often. I can attest to this as I had applied to more than 15 internships for this summer and was able to get interviews for three by applying early and asking about certain programs.
Even though he has clear connections and a job in Cleveland, Santana says he may need a change in scenery if he wants to move up in the boxing world. “The high profile jobs in the industry are located in Florida, New York, California and Las Vegas, so I may have to move to one of those areas.”
Boxing may not be as popular in the United States as it is in other countries, but Santana and his family still embrace the cultural significance that comes with it. Santana, who is of Puerto Rican descent, would often get together with his entire family to watch big fights, and it was a time to enjoy the fight and spend time with family. “I fell in love with the atmosphere and the sport that way,” said Santana.
Santana also works for Antonio Castro’s boxing promotions company called Warner Promotions, which he was able to get after working with him. “Promotions is difficult work where your money is on the line and you are depending on people buying tickets to make a profit,” said Santana. “If you really want experience dealing with all that, you have to jump right in there and an internship is going to be very beneficial.”
“Get to know people who work in your desired industry. That is huge. They know other people who know other people and soon enough you have a whole tree of connections,” said Santana.