It’s perhaps fitting that Melissa Santos has been left fascinated by the new accents she has heard on her first ever trip to Liverpool.
Because the reason the American is in the fight mad city is to officially start out on a journey that will see her become the new voice of boxing with Probellum.
Not that Santos sees it that way, of course.
“It’s not about me,” she tells Probellum.com.
“My job is important, but it’s not important, it’s probably one of the most important, unimportant jobs because you really don’t know that you need a good announcer until you have a bad announcer.”
But equally, the significance of what Santos is about to embark upon is not lost on her.
This evening, at Probellum Liverpool, the 36-year-old will help the sport break new ground by being the ring announcer for a night of world championship action, headlined by Paul Butler’s clash with Jonas Sultan for the WBO interim world title.
Santos has been doing the job in professional wrestling but, tonight, crosses the combat sports divide to step into a world that has, almost exclusively, been dominated by men.
“Traditions are sometimes hard to break,” the Las Vegas resident said.
“I’m a traditionalist when it comes to certain things in life as well, but I don’t see that a woman can’t do this position. I don’t see that there is anything that would stop a woman from being in this position. I think what’s changed is the people in charge of bringing me, they’re willing to try it.
“There has to be a group effort. I think this is all a group effort, everybody wants to see it happen. But there also there needs to be more women that are willing to do it because there probably are not enough because we automatically, going back to tradition, think we’re not supposed to be in this position.”
At Thursday’s pre-fight weigh-in, fans were given an early taste of the energy and unique delivery that Santos will bring to the sport although she has been taken in by the voices around her.
“Everyone is so nice, everyone has the cutest accents ever, they probably think I have a funny accent,” she said.
“I think it sounds funny because I feel like I talk a certain way, but that’s just because when I hear my own voice, I don’t like it. But you guys have the cutest accent, and everyone has their own way of talking to you; everyone’s from everywhere. I love voices and so those sounds are a treat to hear.”
Santos, who is also an actor, pro wrestler and competitive bodybuilder, has a very clear mission in mind when she calls out the names and records of the fighters standing across from her in the ring.
“An actor can read the script in two completely, different ways, and the difference is always just themselves,” Santos added.
“So, the only thing I can bring is myself, my excitement for combat sports.
“I am really excited, I’m like a little kid and I’m really excited for everyone in there. Because I know it’s very, very hard to get to the position where the fighters are at, and I have so much respect for them and it just excites me. How would I, if I were working so hard, want to be announced? How do I bring the energy that I know they have with them and then just translate it to the audience?”
On facing obstacles to reach this point in her career, Santos concluded: “I think there are a lot of things that are difficult, in general, in trying to reach your goals whether you’re a male or a female. Even in pro wrestling, you don’t see many female ring announcers. At one point it was very difficult in that sense, but now I think things are changing. I don’t think if a girl now wants to become a ring announcer, it is as difficult. But you just have to go for it. I think if you truly believe that you can do it, people see it differently. I guess the short answer would be whatever it is that you want to do, if you’re a girl or a boy reading this, especially little girls reading this, do whatever you feel it is that you can do and you just fight for it.”
Metaphorically, Santos’ voice is as strong as the one that will fill the M&S Bank Arena tonight.
Butler vs Santos for the WBO interim world bantamweight title is live, free and exclusive on Probellum.com