PHOENIX – Unbeaten two-time world champion David “El Bandera Roja” Benavídez will square off against former champion José Uzcátegui 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 José 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 Óscar Escandón 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.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Sampson Boxing and TGB Promotions, are on sale now and are available for purchase through Ticketmaster.com.
“I am happy to be bringing David ‘El Bandera Roja’ Benavidez back to his hometown to fight after so many years away,” said Sampson Lewkowicz of Sampson Boxing. “It is going to be a sensational welcome party for him and all the 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, Uzcátegui (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, Uzcátegui 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 Uzcátegui. “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 Escandón,” 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, Escandón (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. Escandón captured an interim title in 2016 when he knocked out Robinson Castellanos to earn his world title shot against Russell. Most recently, Escandón 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 Escandón. “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.”
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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