Danny Garcia returns at junior middleweight, takes on Jose Benavidez Jr. on July 30
Two-division world champion and Brooklyn native Danny “Swift” Garcia will make his junior middleweight debut against contender Jose Benavidez Jr. in a 12-round showdown that headlines a tripleheader Saturday, July 30 live on Showtime from Barclays Center in Brooklyn in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
The Showtime Championship Boxing® telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will also see Polish star and Brooklyn’s all-action Adam Kownacki returning to the ring to take on Turkish Olympian Ali Eren Demirezen in a 10-round heavyweight attraction, while unbeaten rising star Gary Antuanne Russell faces two-division champion Rances Barthelemy in a 10-round showdown to kick off the telecast.
A world champion at 140 and 147 pounds, Garcia (36-3, 21 KOs) now seeks to add a 154-pound title to his list of accomplishments. He returns to fight at Barclays Center for the ninth time, where he headlined the first ever boxing show at the arena in 2012 in his Showtime debut. The Philadelphia native’s run through the super lightweight division saw him defeat a string of champions including Erik Morales, Amir Khan, Zab Judah, Lucas Matthysse, Nate Campbell and Kendall Holt. As a welterweight, the 34-year-old added triumphs over Lamont Peterson, Paulie Malignaggi, and Robert Guerrero, defeating Guerrero for a vacant title in 2016. Garcia’s campaign at welterweight included narrow defeats to some of the sport’s most talented and rugged fighters –Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, and unbeaten unified champion Errol Spence Jr.
“I feel blessed,” said Garcia. “I’m back like I never left. I can’t wait to return to the ring in front of the fans at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, who have always supported me, and for all my fans across the country watching on SHOWTIME. The ‘Danny Garcia Show’ returns July 30 and you don’t want to miss it!”
The 30-year-old Benavidez (27-1-1, 18 KOs) is the older brother of unbeaten two-time world champion David Benavidez and is trained by his father Jose Sr. A long-established contender, Benavidez moved up to super welterweight in his last fight after dropping a 147-pound title showdown to Terence Crawford in October 2018. Benavidez fought Francisco Emanuel Torres to a draw last November, his first action in just over three years. The Phoenix-native had previously earned wins over contenders such as Mauricio Herrera, Francisco Santana and Frank Rojas on his way to that world title opportunity against Crawford.
“This is a Mexico vs. Puerto Rico matchup and both of us have something to prove,” said Benavidez. “It’s going to be a great fight for the fans. I feel strong and I know I will end this one on fight night. I’m bigger and stronger than he is and come July 30, he will see the difference in power between us.”
The 33-year-old Kownacki (20-2, 15 KOs) returns to the friendly confines of Barclays Center where he has previously fought 10 times, compiling a 9-1 record with five knockouts. Born in Lomza, Poland before moving to Brooklyn when he was seven, Kownacki will step back into the ring after dropping a pair of explosive, fan-friendly fights to Robert Helenius. He owns victories over former world champion Charles Martin and former title challengers Gerald Washington and Chris Arreola. His August 2019 battle against Arreola set CompuBox records for heavyweights in combined power punches thrown and landed.
“I’m very excited to be back in the ring, especially back home in Brooklyn at Barclays Center,” said Kownacki. “I’m ready to show the world that Robert Helenius just caught me at a complicated time in my life, where juggling being a new father and a fighter was a new experience and learning how to manage both was something I needed to learn how to do. For this fight, my family went away to Poland while I’m in camp so I could only focus on boxing. It was a difficult decision to make, but the right one. Demirezen is coming off a couple big wins, so I know he will bring his ‘A’ game, but I need to beat him to be back in the heavyweight mix. Our fight on July 30 will be action-packed with my hand being raised in victory.”
A 2016 Olympian for Turkey, Demirezen (16-1, 12 KOs) has fought out of Hamburg, Germany in the professional ranks since turning pro in late 2016. The 32-year-old won his first 11 pro fights, including a second-round stoppage of Rad Rashid to capture a European heavyweight title in 2018. Demirezen’s first U.S. outing came in 2019, when he became the first person to go the distance against Efe Ajagba, losing by decision. Since that defeat, Demirezen has scored five-straight victories, including defeating former title challengers Gerald Washington in January and Kevin Johnson in May.
“I’m very happy to fight in the U.S. again on July 30,” said Demirezen. “After my big win in Miami [in January], I’m very confident I’m going to give everyone a great fight in Brooklyn. I’m ready for anything Adam Kownacki brings to the ring and I want to make a big statement with a win over him.”
A native of Capitol Heights, Md., Russell (15-0, 15 KOs) will be continuing on the legacy left by his late father Gary Sr., as he belongs to one of the sport’s preeminent fighting families and trains alongside his older brothers, former WBC Featherweight Champion Gary Jr. and bantamweight contender Gary Antonio. The 25-year-old Russell has yet to allow an opponent to make it to the final bell since turning pro in 2017 following his run representing the U.S. at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. Most recently, Russell added the most impressive professional victory of his career thus far, as he became the first person to stop former champion Viktor Postol in their February clash on SHOWTIME.
When asked about his fight against Barthelemy, Russell cryptically said, “Deforestation is just a phase that shows there’s more space for growth and conquer,’’ and then stated that he would explain what he means after winning this fight.
A native of Havana, Cuba now fighting out of Las Vegas, Barthelemy (29-1-1, 15 KOs) added two victories in 2021, winning a unanimous decision over All Rivera in January before stopping Gustavo David Vittori in two rounds in November. A world champion at 130 and 135 pounds, Barthelemy owns notable victories over Argenis Mendez, Antonio DeMarco, Mickey Bey and Denis Shafikov. His only professional loss came in a 2018 140-pound championship rematch against Kiryl Relikh, with the only other blemish on his record coming via a draw versus former champion Robert Easter Jr. in 2019. Barthelemy also comes from a fighting family, as he is the middle brother between the younger Leduan and the older Yan, who won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics.
“I’m thrilled to be competing on Showtime, especially against an undefeated young lion like Gary Antuanne Russell,” said Barthelemy. “He’s knocked out every opponent he’s faced, but he’s going to find out real quick that I’m on another level. I’m more determined than ever to take this young kid to school. Don’t be surprised if I take him out, as I’ve been working on my power and explosiveness. The new and improved version of myself will be on display July 30 in Brooklyn.”
“This card on July 30 has everything a boxing fan could ask for and is set up to deliver compelling action from start to finish,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Philadelphia’s Danny Garcia has established a strong fan base in Brooklyn and will look to give them a show in his 154-pound debut against the always tough Jose Benavidez Jr. The heavyweight clash in the co-main event will be full of action as well, as popular heavyweight contender Adam Kownacki takes on Ali Eren Demirezen with both fighters looking to take a big step up the heavyweight ladder. Plus, Gary Antuanne Russell has garnered recognition as a future pound-for-pound star and can continue to solidify those credentials battling the crafty former champion Rances Barthelemy opening up the action on Showtime.”
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and DSG Promotions, go on sale tomorrow, Thursday, June 9 at 10 a.m. ET and can be purchased through seatgeek.com and barclayscenter.com. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center beginning Thursday, June 9 at 12 p.m. ET.
A press release by Showtime/PBC was used in this article.