- Miguel Maravilla
David Benavidez Headlines Next Week on Showtime
Undefeated WBC Super Middleweight World Champion David "El Bandera Roja" Benavídez will defend his title against former world title challenger Alexis Angulo in a Premier Boxing Champions event Saturday, August 15 live on SHOWTIME from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and also features rising lightweight Rolando "Rolly" Romero taking on fellow unbeaten Jackson Maríñez in a 12-round battle for the interim WBA Lightweight Title, while heavyweight contenders Otto Wallin and Travis Kauffman square off in a 10-round showdown. "David Benavídez will look to keep his perfect record intact, continue to display his superstar potential and further cement his positioning in the stacked 168-pound division," said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. "As an undefeated world champ, Benavídez can expect a strong challenge from Alexis Angulo, which should create an action-packed main event on SHOWTIME. Combined with a battle of hungry unbeaten lightweights in 'Rolly' Romero and Jackson Maríñez, plus a heavyweight slugfest between Otto Wallin and Travis Kauffman, this shapes up to be another can't miss night of high-stakes action." "It's going to be great to be in the corner of David 'El Bandera Roja' Benavídez on fight night," said Sampson Lewkowicz of Sampson Boxing, who is recovering from a recent surgery. "I feel so good and so strong and I truly can't wait to be there to support the youngest super middleweight champion in history." The event is promoted by TGB Promotions and Sampson Boxing. The Romero vs. Maríñez bout is co-promoted by Mayweather Promotions. The 23-year-old Benavídez (22-0, 19 KOs) defends his belt after defeating two-time super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell in September, stopping him in nine rounds. Benavidez 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 championship fight. "It's been almost a year since the last time I fought, so I'm very eager to get back in the ring and give the fans a great fight," said Benavídez. "Training camp has been amazing. Fortunately, my dad opened his own gym just before the pandemic, so we've had private training and been able to safely bring in sparring partners to help me work. I'm facing a very tricky and rugged fighter, so I'm taking him very seriously. I feel like I can take advantage of some openings in his defense and look for the knockout like I do every fight." Born in El Bordo, Colombia and now fighting out of Miami, Fla., Angulo (26-1, 22 KOs) enters his second world title opportunity on a three-fight winning streak, including two triumphs over previously unbeaten fighters. Angulo stopped Reinaldo Gonzalez in 2018 in his first fight since losing a decision to then-super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez earlier that year. He scored a decision victory this January over Anthony Sims Jr. to put himself in position to again challenge the best in the division. "I'm ready for anything that happens in the ring on August 15," said Angulo. "This is going to be a great fight for the fans because of the style I bring to the ring. Benavidez is a strong champion, but my style will be too much for him and I will have my hand raised on fight night." Fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev., Romero (11-0, 10 KOs) added three knockout victories to his tally in 2019 before his 2020 debut saw him stop previously unbeaten Arturs Ahmetovs in February. A fast-rising prospect in the Mayweather Promotions stable, the 24-year-old is ranked No. 10 by the WBA and will look to extend his six-fight knockout streak on August 15. "It feels great to return to the ring and to be fighting for such a great opportunity," said Romero. "This has been the best camp of my career, and I'll just say this, if a pandemic is holding you back from training, then you don't want it bad enough. I already believe I should be here with the top guys, but the world will actually get to see that I am who I say I am. I'm confident in my abilities as a fighter and I have the best in the business, Floyd Mayweather, behind me. I think this fight will end fairly quickly, but you will get to see the growth in me as a fighter. This is another fight that will further prove I'm here to stay. Sign up for KO's!" "This is a big step up for Rolando, and he's been waiting for the opportunity to showcase his talent," said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. "He has a big test ahead to prove himself. This is going to be another one that you don't want to miss, so tune-in to SHOWTIME on Saturday, August 15." The 29-year-old Maríñez (19-0, 7 KOs) holds the WBA's No. 6 ranking, which he earned with victories over Rolando Giono and Kenin Betancourt while picking up eight wins between 2018 and 2019. Representing his native Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Maríñez was successful in his U.S. debut in December of last year, stopping Yardley Armenta Cruz in two rounds. "I've had a great training camp for this fight," said Maríñez. "I've been sparring with Vergil Ortiz and Jose Ramirez, plus other fighters in Robert Garcia's gym, and it's gotten me ready to step into the ring. I know that Romero is a tough and durable fighter, so it won't be easy, but I'm going to do anything I can to bring the title back home." Wallin (20-1, 13 KOs) will return to the ring for the first time since he nearly defeated Tyson Fury in September 2019, when he opened up a gruesome cut over Fury's right eye with a legal punch that nearly halted the fight. While the 29-year-old lost a decision, he proved his mettle as a potential future heavyweight champion. Representing his native Sundsvall, Sweden, Wallin trains in New York with former champion Joey Gamache. "I'm very happy to finally be back in the ring," said Wallin. "It's been a long and crazy year in many ways and it feels great to be getting ready to step back into the ring. I've been training steady since the Fury fight and I feel like I've developed my game in a lot of ways. Kauffman is a tough veteran that can both come forward or box if he wants to. He's a fan friendly fighter and I have to be ready at all times. We have a great game plan as always and I'm in excellent shape. I know I have all the tools to beat Kauffman." A veteran of the heavyweight landscape, Kauffman (32-3, 23 KOs) owns a ledger that includes challenges of top heavyweights including Luis Ortiz, Chris Arreola and Amir Mansour, amongst others. The Reading, Pennsylvania native lost his most recent bout to Ortiz, following a 2018 triumph over Scott Alexander. "This is my first training camp in seven years without Brother Naazim Richardson, but I know that he wouldn't want me to leave camp and he'd want me to stay focused," said Kauffman. "Having him pass away while I was in camp was one of the hardest things I've had to deal with, but there's adversity in every camp I've had. I wouldn't feel right if there wasn't adversity to overcome. My father, Marshall, stepped back in as my head trainer. We know we're facing a young, hungry fighter, but I have more experience than him and I don't think he can last 10 rounds with me when I'm at 100% like I'll be on August 15." Additional non-televised action will include super middleweight contender Alantez Fox (26-2-1, 12 KOs) battling Ghana's Habib Ahmed (27-1-1, 18 KOs) in an eight-round attraction.