Bennett, Williams Jr. Ready For Cincinnati Homecoming

By Jake Donovan

Brandon Bennett and Ricardo Williams Jr. were both long overdue for a return to the ring. The end to their respective periods of inactivity come in the form of a homecoming, appearing in separate bouts Friday evening just outside of the Cincinnati area at Bank of Kentucky Center in Highland Heights, Kentucky.

In the evening's main event, Bennett faces battled-tested Tyrone Harris in a scheduled 10-round lightweight bout. Both fighters were well within the limit—Bennett tipped the scales at 134.2 lb., while Harris checked in at 134 lb.

Friday's show marks the first fight for Bennett (17-1, 7KOs) in more than 10 months, having last fought on Thanksgiving weekend at home in Cincinnati. The 26-year old lightweight prospect seeks his second straight win following the lone loss of his career, a 10-round decision at the hands of current super featherweight contender Francisco Vargas last August in a Showtime-televised bout. 

Harris (24-9, 16KOs) hasn't fought since a knockout loss to then-unbeaten Michael Perez in Oct. '11. The Michigan-based southpaw has dropped five of his last six contests.

The co-feature pits Williams Jr. in a super lightweight battle with Guillermo Sanchez (13-13-1, 5KOs), a Puerto Rican southpaw who fights out of Buffalo, New York.

Both fighters came in at the contracted limit of 140 lb.

Williams Jr. (21-3, 11KOs) was thought to be a can't miss prospect after having won the Silver medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Poor choices made in and out of the ring led to his rapid fall from grace, including a prison stint that took a large chunk out of his prime. 

Since returning to the ring in 2008, Williams Jr. has won 12 of 13 bouts. The showdown versus Sanchez marks his first fight in the Cincinnati region since appearing at home in back-to-back fights in 2009. 

The bouts serve as part of an evening dedicated to campaigning against violence in the area, as per the show's 'Put Down The Guns, Pick Up The Gloves' theme." Local hero and former three-division champ Adrien Broner—who scored a thrilling points win over Emannuel Taylor last month in Cincinnati—joined in on the act, donating 1,000 tickets to local boxing gyms.

Broner's homecoming was ably aided by the local efforts of R&R Promotions, who serve as lead promoter for Friday's 13-fight card.

Brandon Bennett, 134.2 lb. vs. Tyrone Harris, 134 lb.
Ricardo Williams, Jr. 140 lb. vs. Guillermo Sanchez, 140 lb.
Williams Jackson, 146.4 lb. vs. Gilbert Venegas, 148 lb.
Danny Calhoun, 235 lb. vs. Gary Kelley, 353 lb.
DeVonte Allen, 131 lb. vs. Antoine Knight, 130.6 lb.
Donald Anderson, 179 lb. vs. Richard McCombs, 174 lb.
Kareem Martin, 147 lb. vs. Domonique Foster (weight TBD)
Russel Fiore, 137 lb. vs. Michael Doyle, 138 lb.
Jayvon Garnett 126 lb. vs. Rudy Payne, 126 lb.
Aaron Hollis, 128 lb. vs. Vic Chambers, 130 lb.
Steve Geffard (weight TBD) vs. Mike Davis, 205 lb.
Cedric Patterson, 133 lb. vs. Ronnie Jordan (weight TBD)
Antonio Brown, 154 lb. vs. Robert Montgomery, 145 lb.
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