Morrell: ‘It’s no secret that I’m coming for (David)Benavidez’

Unbeaten WBA Super Middleweight Champion David Morrell Jr. previewed his upcoming showdown against Kalvin Henderson before they square off in the co-main event of action live on SHOWTIME on Saturday, June 4 from The Armory in Minneapolis in a Premier Boxing Champions event.

The telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and is headlined by the highly-anticipated duel between WBC and WBO Super Bantamweight World Champion Stephen Fulton and former unified champion Danny Roman.

After a prolific amateur career in his native Cuba, Morrell moved stateside and adopted Minneapolis as his hometown in the U.S. and thrilled the crowd at The Armory with electric knockout performances last December and June. June 4 will be the second fight that the 24-year-old will be trained by renowned coach Ronnie Shields in Texas, as he looks to again steal the show in front of his fans.

Photos: Hosanna Rull/iRull Fotos

Here is what Morrell (6-0, 5 KOs) had to say about training camp, June 4 and more:

On his recent training camp:

“This training camp has been special because I was in great shape coming in, and I got to work on a lot of new things with my coach Ronnie Shields. I got to spar with some new faces, and I’ll be very sharp going into this fight. My body feels good and I’m healthy. No body aches or injuries, so I’ll be ready to shine.”

On his matchup with Kalvin Henderson:

“Henderson is a very durable fighter who has never been stopped. I’m aiming to be the first person to knock him out. He’s had a lot of time to prepare for this fight, so I know he’ll be coming in great shape. He also has a lot of power, so I must be at my best defensively.”

On what a win will do for his career:

“A victory will set up a major showdown with David Benavidez or any of the top contenders or champions. It’s no secret that I’m coming for Benavidez. I know a great performance on June 4 will lead to some big-time fights, against some big-time names.”

On fighting in his United States hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota: 

“Minneapolis is my city here in the United States. I’ve made a name for myself in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. I’m ready to set the city on fire at The Armory once again. The fans are incredible, and I can’t wait to give them another great night of boxing.”

Benavidez on win over Lemieux: ‘Mike Tyson gave me the name ‘The Mexican Monster’, what do you think I’m gonna do?’

Once again, undefeated David “El Bandera Roja” Benavídez didn’t disappoint the hometown crowd as the Phoenix native became a super middleweight champion for the third time in dramatic fashion, scoring a third-round TKO against former world champion David Lemieux to win the vacant Interim WBC World Title on Saturday night at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona

Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) beat and battered a gutsy Lemieux (43-5, 36 KOs) from the opening bell knocking him to the canvas for the fifth time in his career midway through the second round on a massive uppercut that nearly sent Lemieux through the ropes. Lemieux somehow survived the onslaught of Benavidez’s power punches and returned to action in the third round. But Benavidez went right to work dishing out more and more punishment as Lemieux’s corner stepped in and signaled surrender to referee Harvey Dock, who waved off the fight with 1:31 remaining in the third round.

 Photos: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

“Mike Tyson gave me the name ‘The Mexican Monster’, what do you think I’m gonna do?” Benavidez told Jim Gray after the fight. “I just feel like I’m the strongest 168 pounder. No one can mess with me.”

Benavidez staggered Lemieux in the closing seconds of round one, the big blow a left hook that sent Lemieux into the ropes with Benavidez pouncing with a 10-punch combination of uppercuts, hooks and straight jabs. Dock later said he was about to stop the fight had the bell not rung to end the round.

“Lemieux is a special type of breed,” said Benavidez, who landed 49 percent of his total punches and 52 percent of his power punches. “This guy was swinging until the end. I had to be on my p’s and q’s. He’s a tough champion, so my hat’s off to him. He’s the only one with the guts to face me.”

Lemieux never backed down and told Gray he was impressed with Benavidez. “I’m good, Benavidez is a hell of a fighter,” Lemieux said. “I congratulate him. After the first round I was okay, he had gotten me with some good shots. I tried to come back, but he’s a very good fighter.”

Benavidez said he wants the best the 168-pound division has to offer. “I’m waiting for [Caleb Plant, Jermall Charlo, David Morrell] to sign the contract. Them b****** know what’s up. I’m right here waiting for them. I’ll put myself up against everyone. I guarantee I’m knocking everyone out.

“I can get better everywhere. You can always learn. It only gets better from here. I’m just going to keep working. Facing tough guys like Lemieux just pushes me to keep moving to the next level.”

Benavidez is ready take over the 168-pound division

Unbeaten two-time world champion David “El Bandera Roja” Benavídez and former world champion David Lemieux officially kicked off fight week events with a media workout on Wednesday ahead of their 12-round showdown for the vacant Interim WBC Super Middleweight Title which headlines live on SHOWTIME this Saturday, May 21 from Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona in a Premier Boxing Champions event.

The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and features two exciting undercard matchups as hard-hitting Cuban prospect Yoelvis Gómez faces Mexico’s Jorge Cota in the co-main event, while Dominican prospect Luis “The Twist” Núñez squares off against Mexico’s Jonathan Fierro in a battle of unbeatens that kicks off the action.

The two-power punchers (combined 85% KO rate for Benavídez and Lemieux) showed off their skills at Central Boxing Gym, as they look to grab the interim title and move one step closer to regaining world champion status with an emphatic victory on Saturday night. For Benavídez, he will be returning to fight in his home state for the second-straight outing, after he knocked out Kyrone Davis in front of his hometown fans in November.

Here is what Benavidez and Lemieux had to say Wednesday:

DAVID BENAVIDEZ

Photos: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

“I definitely want to go out there and follow my gameplan. I don’t care [if the KO] comes in the first, second, fifth or 12th round. When it comes, it comes. I visualize everything I’m going to do in the ring.

“I just hit the weight yesterday and now everything is amazing. We took that stress off the table after four months of hard work. Now, I’m excited to go out there, fight for the title and give the fans a great fight.

“It makes me happy to be able to inspire kids and to see the smiles on the faces of the people in my city. It’s inspiring to have them come out and support me the way that they do.

“It means the world to me to be here in my hometown with my family – both my son and my dad. Now I know what my dad meant when he said that once you have a child, your life changes. My son Anthony is 18 months and he’s given me so much motivation to be the best version of myself.I have a newfound focus and I’m ready to conquer the division.”

DAVID LEMIEUX

“On fight night I’ll be about 180 pounds. I don’t care what he is at. Maybe 190? It doesn’t really matter. I’ll be ready no matter what.

“If he wants a war, he’ll get a war. I’m strong and I’ve very confident in my abilities. I know he’s a very strong fighter, but we have a plan going in against him. We’re not worried and we will do what we have to do to be at our best on fight night. David Benavídez will have his hands full on Saturday night.

“If you know David Lemieux, he’s never refused a fight and he’s always taken whatever fight they put in front of him. When we had big fights in the past, we always took them. If you want to be a world champion you have to fight the best.

“He’s a great fighter and you can’t take anything away from him, but he’s never fought David Lemieux and he will see what that means on Saturday night. I know what I’m going in there against. Does he know what he’s going in against?”

Morrell on Benavidez: ‘I know I’ll give him a beatdown’

Undefeated WBA super middleweight champion, David Morrell Jr. (6-0, 5 KOs), is ready to let the world know he wants the best fights possible, and as soon as possible. Morrell Jr., from his training camp in Houston, TX, with coach Ronnie Shields, says a fight with David Benavidez is what he seeks most.

“I look at someone like David Benavidez who claims to be avoided, but you never here him mention my name,” said Morrell Jr., who has knocked out five of his six opponents in the pro ranks. “He speaks as though he’s the boogeyman of the division, well fight me and let’s find out. He’s chasing a fight with Canelo, but I know I’ll give him a beatdown that he’ll never forget.”

Photos from Sean Michael Ham/Premier Boxing Champions

After a monumental amateur career where he compiled an astonishing record of 130 wins with only 2 losses, Morrell Jr., an international star from Cuba, has looked indestructible in his first six fights as a professional. He’s been on the fast track to a world title and captured the WBA super middleweight world title in only his fifth fight as a pro.

“I’ve seen every style you can possibly think of in the amateurs, so I know how to beat a guy like Benavidez, who likes to come forward and bang,” continued Morrell. “David Benavidez is a great puncher with a lot of heart, and he’s a warrior, I’ll give him that, but he doesn’t have the skills that I possess. I’ll fight David Benavidez anytime, anywhere, but will he fight me, that is the question the fans want to know, myself included. Now the world knows who I want most, let’s see who the real boogeyman is…come to papa David, Boo!”

Benavídez: ‘If Canelo Alvarez wants to fight at light heavyweight, then he’s going to have to vacate’

Unbeaten two-time world champion David Benavídez and former world champion David Lemieux previewed their 12-round showdown for the vacant Interim WBC Super Middleweight Title with both knockout artists forecasting fireworks during a virtual press conference Tuesday before headlining live on SHOWTIME Saturday, May 21 from Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz. in a Premier Boxing Champions event.

The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT headlined by Benavídez returning to fight in his home state of Arizona for the second-straight outing after delivering a knockout victory over Kyrone Davis in November 2021 on SHOWTIME. He will be taking on a hard-hitting former champion in Lemieux, making May 21 a clash of power punchers, as the two fighters have combined for 58 knockouts in their 68 wins (85% KO rate).

Here is what the Benavídez had to say Tuesday:

DAVID BENAVIDEZ:

“I’m very excited to go into this fight against Lemieux, because he’s a guy I’ve watched for a long time and I like his style. We both have similar styles because we go for the knockout. That gets me very excited and motivates me a lot.

“We’re also fighting for the interim title and that makes the stage that much bigger. I’ve been training hard in camp for about three months getting ready for this fight. I’m just ready to go back home and win that title.

“If you win the interim title that means the next fight has to be for the title. I don’t think it should be any difference in this case. If Canelo Alvarez wants to fight at light heavyweight, then he’s going to have to vacate. It’s only fair.

“I train extremely hard to make sure I get the knockout. I just feel like I’m at my peak right now. I have a lot of skills, power and great experience. I know it won’t be easy, but I’ve done everything right in the gym.

“I see flaws in David’s game and I’m sure he sees flaws in me. I know he wants to stop me, and I want to stop him. This is going to be a great fight for the fans. This could be the Fight of the Year because of what’s at stake and because of the type of fighters we are. We’re two bulls going in there to see who has the most heart.

“I just want everyone to see that I’m the best in this weight class. I’m only looking at the fight in front of me. I have to win this fight before I can win anything else. But I do feel like everyone knows where I stand in this division. I’ve been calling out the best and I respect Lemieux for stepping up to take this fight.

“I wanted to fight back in Arizona again because we had a great event in November. This is my first title fight back at home and it’s a dream come true for me. Everything has fallen into place for me. I’ve had an amazing camp and I’m preparing for a great opponent. This has all the makings for a great fight. The energy is right. This is one of the biggest fights of my life and that’s how seriously I’m taking it.

“We’ve been in camp for a long time and we’ve been feeding off of each other’s energy. I’ve been putting in the work and getting my miles in. Seeing Jose Valenzuela and Diego Pacheco have great victories gives me even more energy. We’re all like brothers and we all push each other.

“The main goal for myself is to become unified champion at 168-pounds. It’s not just about me. I have a lot of fans that support me, and I’m doing it for them. They’ve supported me so much, so I want them to know that I’ve put 110% into training camp every time they come to a fight.

“I feel like I deserve the biggest fights. I’ve paid my dues and I’ve been here for a long time. But I have plenty of fuel in the gym solely because of how big this fight is. I think the other top guys are making a mistake not giving me the fight now, because the more I’m in the ring, the more I’m learning. It’s going to turn around and bite them when it’s time to get in the ring with me. Everything is going to be through the roof.”

Davis, Spence, Charlo brothers, Benavidez headline Showtime/PBC upcoming boxing schedule

SHOWTIME Sports and Premier Boxing Champions today announced nine boxing events across the first half of 2022

The lineup pits champions against champions and top contenders against top contenders to form the strongest and most ambitious schedule in the industry.

  • Nine marquee events across five months featuring 21 undefeated fighters;

  • Two world championship unifications bouts, one for all four world title belts and the coveted title of Undisputed Champion, and one for three world title belts;

  • Seven world championship matches with at least 13 world title belts at stake and three world title eliminators;

  • All of the top-six ranked super welterweights fighting in a seven-week span;

  • Several pivotal crossroads fights from super bantamweight to super middleweight with an average of two events per month through July.

The schedule features the sport’s biggest stars: Errol Spence, Jr., Gervonta “Tank” Davis, Jermell Charlo, David Benavidez and Jermall Charlo.

Here’s Showtime/PBC schedule for the first half of the year:

March 26 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING

Location: The Armory, Minneapolis, Minn.

o Tim Tszyu vs. Terrell Gausha, Super Welterweight Bout

o Michel Rivera vs. Joseph Adorno, Lightweight Bout

o Elvis Rodriguez vs. Juan Jose Velasco, Super Lightweight (142 LBS) Bout

April 9 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING

Location: The Theatre at Virgin Hotels, Las Vegas

o Erickson Lubin vs. Sebastian Fundora, WBC Super Welterweight Interim Title

o Tony Harrison vs. Sergio Garcia, Super Welterweight Bout

o Kevin Salgado vs. Bryant Perrella, Super Welterweight Bout

April 16 – SHOWTIME PPV

Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

Errol Spence Jr. vs. Yordenis Ugas, WBC, WBA & IBF Welterweight World __Championship Unification

SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING (preceding PPV):

o Radzhab Butaev vs. Eimantas Stanionis, WBA Welterweight Title Bout

o Brandun Lee vs. Zachary Ochoa, Super Lightweight Bout

May 14 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING

Location: Los Angeles

o Jermell Charlo vs. Brian Castaño II, Undisputed IBF, WBA, WBC & WBO Super __Welterweight World Championship Unification

o Jaron Ennis vs. Custio Clayton, IBF Welterweight Eliminator

May 21 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING

Location: Phoenix

o David Benavidez vs. David Lemieux, Super Middleweight Bout

o Yoelvis Gomez vs. Jorge Cota, Super Welterweight Bout

May 28 – SHOWTIME PPV

Location: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

o Gervonta Davis vs. Rolando Romero, WBA Lightweight World Championship

June 4 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING

Location: Minneapolis

o Stephen Fulton, Jr. vs. Danny Roman, WBO & WBC Super Bantamweight World Championship

o David Morrell vs. Kalvin Henderson, WBA Super Middleweight World Title

June 18 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING

Location: Houston

o Jermall Charlo vs. Maciej Sulecki, WBC Middleweight World Championship

July 9 – SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING

Location: San Antonio

o Mark Magsayo vs. Rey Vargas, WBC Featherweight World Championship

Benavidez: ‘Once opponents feel my pressure, they realize it’s a whole different type of power’

Unbeaten two-time world champion David Benavídez and super middleweight contender Kyrone Davis went face-to-face Thursday at the final press conference before they meet in the main event this Saturday, November 13 live on SHOWTIME in a Premier Boxing Champions event from Footprint Center in Phoenix.

Also featured at Thursday’s press conference was David’s older brother and longtime contender José Benavídez, along with Argentina’s Francisco Emanuel Torres, before they meet in the 10-round co-main event on the telecast beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

The Benavídez brothers have their sights set on impressing their hometown fans in long-awaited homecoming bouts Saturday night, which will mark their first time entering the ring in Phoenix since 2015.

Here is what the Benavidez and Davis had to say Thursday from the Footprint Center:

DAVID BENAVÍDEZ

“I’ve had a tremendous training camp this time around. Hats off to Kyrone Davis for stepping up to the plate and taking this fight. I’m on a knockout streak and I’m keeping it going Saturday night. The fans want to see knockouts and that’s what I want to give them.

“I’m excited to have fans back in attendance, after my last couple of fights took place in the bubble. The energy is going to be crazy. I can’t wait to get in there.

“We went right back into training camp after Davis stepped in as the replacement. I’m just happy the date was still salvaged. I’ve trained with multiple sparring partners in the gym, so I’m used to adapting to different styles. We’ll adapt to what he brings on Saturday.“I’ve had a lot of support from the people here and it’s been amazing. Last time I was here, it was on my brother’s undercard. I’m ecstatic to be back fighting in front of a crowd. I can’t wait to feel the energy from the people.

“Once opponents feel my pressure, they realize it’s a whole different type of power. I want to see how he’s going to react to the power, combinations and speed. I’m going to keep doing what I do best and have fun.

“I’m not thinking about Canelo. I’m just thinking about Kyrone Davis. I’m excited to give my fans a good show. I worked extremely hard for this fight and trained like it was for a world title. I’m ready for whoever they want to give me to fight next.

“I’m always going to try to knock my opponent out. Not just Kyrone, but everyone who comes after him. I’m a warrior and I’m going to give the fans a war. It’s going to be a great night for me and my brother.

“My brother is still my role model. I still look up to him a lot. When we’re sparring, we try to take each other’s heads off and we might go days without talking, because it gets so serious. But he’s providing motivation for me every day. Especially the way that he came back from his injury.

“Kyrone Davis is a live dog. He knows what he’s up against. I’ve had a tremendous training camp and I’m going to make this a fun fight. We’re not scared of each other, and that makes it a great fight.

“It means the world to our whole family to be here in this position. I spent most of my childhood at Central Boxing Gym. The first mural out there was of my brother and I said that I wanted to be up there next. It’s really motivating knowing that Phoenix has our backs.”

KYRONE DAVIS

“Sometimes with stepping-stones, you trip. We’ve seen it happen plenty of times. My job is to make sure Saturday night isn’t his night. I’m looking to have a good time and put my all into it.

“I’ve been doing this my whole life. Stepping up on two weeks’ notice is nothing for me. A guy trying to cheat is disrespectful to the sport. It’s my duty to the sport to step in

“This is going to be a world class fight. I’m coming to fight and I’m coming to win.

“I showed that I can fight on this level against Anthony Dirrell. That performance put me in position to get this fight. I’m looking to put on a show. We’re going to have a good time.

“All good things must come to an end. His knockout streak is cool, but who you fight matters. I’m nicknamed ‘Shut It Down’, not lay down. He’s supposed to want to put on a great show, but I’m looking to do what I have to do to win.

“I’m always ready. When they call me and tell me it’s time to fight, I’m ready to go. I’ve had some experience taking fights on short notice. Every time we go through something, we take it and apply it to everything we do going forward.

“To see my name in the big lights, is a gratifying feeling. But it’s not just great to be here, I want to show what I can do at this level.

“I’m a smart fighter and my style changes depending on my opponent. We have a game plan and I’m going to follow it.

“I’ve never lost over 160 pounds. All of my losses were from shrinking down to 154 pounds. I’m feeling great at this weight and I’m ready for any way that this fight goes. I’m mentally and physically prepared.

“I can guarantee a great fight and that I’m going to win.”

Photos: Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME

Benavidez-Uzcategui set for 11/13 in Phoenix

Unbeaten two-time world champion and Phoenix-native David “El Bandera Roja” Benavidez will battle former world champion Jose Uzcategui in a WBC Super Middleweight title eliminator in his hometown on Saturday, November 13 live on SHOWTIME in a Premier Boxing Champions event from Footprint Center in Phoenix.

Benavidez and Uzcategui were originally scheduled to meet on Saturday, August 28, before the fight was pushed back due to a positive COVID-19 test for Benavidez.

Also featured on the card will be longtime contender José Benavídez, the older brother of David Benavídez, making his much-awaited return facing Argentina’s Francisco Emanuel Torres in a 10-round super welterweight duel.

Tickets purchased for the August 28 event will be valid for the newly scheduled November 13 event date. If you are unable to attend the newly scheduled date, tickets will be refundable at your point of purchase.

Benavidez Brothers headline card in Phoenix

Unbeaten two-time world champion David “El Bandera Roja” Benavídez will square off against former champion Jose Uzcategui in a WBC Super Middleweight title eliminator as Benavídez returns to his hometown of Phoenix for the first time in six years in the SHOWTIME main event on Saturday, August 28 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from Footprint Center – home of the Phoenix Suns and Mercury.

The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and will feature the much-awaited return of longtime contender Jose Benavídez, the older brother of David Benavídez, facing Argentina’s Francisco Emanuel Torres in the 10-round super welterweight co-main event. Kicking off the telecast is undefeated contender Carlos Castro taking on former title challenger Oscar Escandon in a 10-round super bantamweight bout. The Benavídez brothers and Castro hail from Phoenix and have their sights set on impressing their hometown fans.

Still just 24-years-old, Benavídez (24-0, 21 KOs) enters this fight having knocked out his last four opponents, including a September 2019 knockout of two-time super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell. Most recently, he earned stoppage victories over Roamer Alexis Angulo in August 2020 and Ronald Ellis in March of this year. Benavídez is trained by his father José Sr., alongside his brother and former title challenger, José Jr. In 2017, he became the youngest super middleweight champion in boxing history by defeating Ronald Gavril on SHOWTIME at just 20 years old. Representing his native Phoenix, Ariz., Benavídez went from a 15-year-old prodigy sparring with Gennady Golovkin and Peter Quillin, to world title contender with a 10-fight knockout streak from 2015 through 2017, including a highlight-reel knockout of Rogelio Medina with a seven-punch combination that earned him his first title opportunity.

“I’m super excited to fight in front of my hometown fans,” said Benavídez. “It’s a dream come true for me to come back home as a two-time world champion. I’m training for Uzcategui like he’s a world champ because he has a lot of experience and he’s a hungry fighter. I know that he needs this win, but I won’t let that happen. I’m staying dedicated and motivated to win on August 28 on SHOWTIME and I want to look impressive doing it in order to get even bigger and better fights in the future.”

Born in Venezuela and fighting out of Tijuana, Mexico, Uzcategui (31-4, 26 KOs) captured a 168-pound world title in March of 2018 by stopping veteran contender Andre Dirrell after eight rounds. The 30-year-old put himself in position to fight for a title with four-straight stoppage victories from 2015 through 2016, including a win over then-unbeaten Julius Jackson. Since losing the title to unbeaten champion Caleb Plant in January 2019, Uzcategui has rebounded to win three of his last four fights, including knockout wins in 2021 over Jaime Hernandez Lopez and Josue Obando.

“I’m excited to be back on the big stage for this fight,” said Uzcategui. “I know what I’m up against with Benavídez. He’s a great fighter, and that’s my biggest motivation. This is going to be a war and I can’t wait to give the people a great fight. Both of us come to brawl, so this is going to be a classic on August 28.”

The 28-year-old Benavídez (27-1, 18 KOs) is the older brother of main event headliner David and returns to fight in his hometown of Phoenix for the first time in six years. A long-established contender, Benavídez will return to action for the first time since dropping a 147-pound title showdown to Terence Crawford in October 2018. Benavídez had previously earned wins over contenders such as Mauricio Herrera, Francisco Santana and Frank Rojas on his way to that world title opportunity.

“I’m really excited to be back in the ring after being out for a while,” said Benavidez. “I feel more mature, motivated and stronger than ever. Fighting alongside my brother and in my hometown is really a dream come true. I’m really looking forward to making a tremendous comeback. It doesn’t matter who they put in front of me, I guarantee that I’m going to take them out. No one is going to want to miss this night, because me and my brother are bringing the fireworks.”

A native of boxing-rich Buenos Aires, Argentina, Torres (17-3, 5 KOs) enters this fight the winner of his last nine contests dating back to 2018. The 31-year-old will fight in the U.S. for the third time on August 28, having scored stateside victories over Cleotis Pendarvis in August 2020 and Louis Hernandez in February of this year. Torres most recently won a unanimous decision over Alexi Rivera in June as he prepares for his toughest fight to date against Benavídez.

“I’m very pumped up for this fight,” said Torres. “I want to thank my whole team for this opportunity to participate in such an important fight. This is a great chance for me to go to the next level against a great fighter who’s had an exceptional career. I will work very hard to get the victory on August 14 and raise high the flag of Argentina.”

Castro (26-0, 11 KOs) has climbed the rankings since turning pro in 2012 as he seeks a shot at a super bantamweight championship. The Phoenix-native added two victories in 2020, defeating Jesus Ruiz in February before stopping longtime contender Cesar Juarez in four rounds in July. Castro was coming off a 2019 campaign that saw him score three victories, including 10-round unanimous decision triumphs over former title challenger Genesis Servania and veteran contender Mario Diaz.

“I’m very grateful for this opportunity to fight an excellent opponent in Oscar Escandon,” said Castro. “I’m very motivated to put on a great performance in front of my hometown fans. On August 28, I’m going to be ready to showcase all of my skills and hard work in the ring so I leave with my hand raised.”

A native of Ibague, Colombia, Escandon (26-5, 18 KOs) has faced a slew of top contenders and champions including featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr. and super bantamweight champion Brandon Figueroa, plus hard-hitting contender Tugstsogt Nyambayar. Escandon captured an interim title in 2016 when he knocked out Robinson Castellanos to earn his world title shot against Russell. Most recently, Escandon scored a first-round knockout over previously unbeaten contender Jhack Tepora in December of 2019.

“I’m very focused on training for this fight because I know a win can lead me back to another world title opportunity,” said Escandon. “Castro is a good young fighter who has a solid jab and can move. But I think he’s the perfect opponent for me. There are a lot of things we can do to win this fight and I can’t wait to go in there on August 28 and show it.”

Benavidez: ‘I want [Jermall] Charlo, Canelo Alvarez, Caleb Plant, all of them’

On Saturday night, we may have seen the best fighter at 168 pounds. Former two-time world champion David Benavidez kept his perfect ring record intact with an 11th-round technical knockout victory against veteran Ronald Ellis in their WBC Super Middleweight Title Eliminator from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.(Showtime)

“I rate my performance pretty good, but I know I could have done better,” said Benavidez. “Ronald Ellis is a tough competitor. I just hope the fans like what they saw. I threw a lot of combinations, punches in bunches. There were a lot of times I thought Ellis was going to quit, but he didn’t. Hats off to him; he’s a tough guy. It was a little later than I wanted, but a stoppage is still a stoppage. I hope the fans got a good show tonight.”

Benavidez (24-0, 21 KOs) displayed great hand speed, accuracy, and power as he dominated Ellis (18-2-2, 12 KOs) over 11 rounds before referee Johnny Callas finally waved off the fight at 2:03 of the penultimate round. The 24-year-old star held a significant lead on all three scorecards (99-91, 98-92 x2) at the time of the stoppage.

Benavidez, who lost his WBC super-middleweight title after missing weight in his win against Alexis Angulo back in August, wants the big guys at 168, including unified 168-pound champion Canelo Alvarez, IBF super-middleweight champion Caleb Plant, and even WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo.

“I want all the big guys,” Benavidez said. “Speaking for the fans too, they would love to see me against all the big guys because, as you can see, I love throwing punches. I love stopping people, so me versus any big name would be an amazing fight. I want [Jermall] Charlo, Canelo Alvarez, Caleb Plant, all of them.”

Look, the reality is that Benavidez is an uncrowned champion at 168. Canelo’s ultimate goal is to be an undisputed champion at 168. He does not need Benavidez for that. Plant probably wants the opportunity to fight the biggest name in the sport in Canelo, so he might wait to see what happens with Alvarez-Saunders in May, which makes what happens next with Benavidez very interesting.