Monday, March 20, 2023  |



David Benavidez, Anthony Dirrell in talks for WBC title fight

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

David Benavidez is aiming to become the youngest super middleweight champion of all time.

At just 20 years old, Benavidez will have the opportunity to accomplish the feat after the WBC ordered a fight between Benavidez and Anthony Dirrell for the vacant 168-pound title.

Both fighters are managed by Al Haymon, so a deal shouldn’t be too difficult to make. Sampson Lewkowicz, who promotes the prodigy, told he expects the title bout to take place in October in the Los Angeles area. The undercard of Leo Santa Cruz-Abner Mares 2 on October 7 at Staples Center appears to be a natural fit.

“It’s very simple,” said Lewkowicz, a 66-year-old native of Uruguay. “In 2001 I bring to the States Manny Pacquiao and hand him over to Murad Muhammad. In 2008, I find Sergio Martinez and give him to Lou DiBella. Today, I will believe in myself as a sole promoter (of) a future star of boxing in David “El Bandero” Benavidez. In 2017, he will be the youngest ever super middleweight champion.

” … I believe after so many years I deserve to be the solo promoter of another superstar like Manny Pacquiao and Sergio Martinez and I certainly believe that I help boxing by bringing superstars, and it’s not easy to find one.”

The title was vacated after Badou Jack announced his intention to climb up light heavyweight following a spirited draw against James DeGale in January. Dirrell (30-1-1, 24 knockouts) was slated to face Callum Smith, but the Brit withdrew from the bout and instead entered the World Boxing Super Series.

That opened the door for Benavidez (18-0, 17 KOs) to make some history in a division that’s only been around since 1984.

Darin Van Horn currently holds the record as youngest 168-pound champion at 22 years, 8 months, 11 days old after he knocked out Lindell Holmes to win the IBF title in 1991. Benavidez doesn’t turn 21 until December, and to this juncture, his immense talent is clear.

The Phoenix resident, whose brother Jose was a welterweight contender, opened eyes with a highlight-reel knockout of Rogelio “Porky” Medina in May when he landed a barrage of lightning-quick punches to plant the veteran down and out.

Dirrell, whose brother Andre is a fellow super middleweight contender, formerly held the WBC strap but dropped it to Jack in 2015.

Now the Michigan native will have a chance to reclaim what was once his.

If Lewkowicz’s vision is correct, though, it’s Benavidez who is on the fast track to stardom.


Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger