Now that sanction has officially been granted, the next fight for red-hot undefeated super middleweight David "El Bandera Roja" Benavidez will be an eliminator for the #2 mandatory challenger spot in the WBC's world rankings against highly regarded contender Rogelio "Porky" Medina, of Sonora, Mexico.
WBC #1-rated Callum Smith and WBC #2-rated Anthony Dirrell will fight for the vacant 168 WBC Championship (tentatively scheduled for May), the winner of that fight must then face undefeated WBC #3 contender, Avni Yildirim, from Turkey. The champion at the end of those two fights will be mandated to face the winner of the Benavidez vs. Medina eliminator.
For Benavidez (17-0, 16 KOs), who served as chief sparring partner for middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin's recent preparations to face Danny Jacobs, news of the fight with Medina is a welcome development.
"This is the biggest opportunity of my life and I'm not going to let it go to waste," said Benavidez. "I'm going to destroy this guy like I do everybody else. I have never trained this hard for a fight and I feel that, come fight time, I'll be extremely strong and do it up."
Considered a boxing prodigy by many, the 20-year-old Benavidez, who turned professional at age 16, is the brother of former interim WBA World Super Lightweight Jose Benavidez, and has been trained since age two by his father Jose Benavidez Sr.
Father/trainer Jose says everyone on Team Benavidez is aware of what's at stake against the formidable Medina, who lost a controversial decision to IBF World Champion James DeGale's last year, in a fight that many felt Medina won.
"We are excited and working really hard," he said. "This is the toughest fight of his career, so we're taking it super serious. This is a big opportunity for us to shine and look good and go to the next level. We were training with Golovkin here in Big Bear (California) and we've decided to stay here and keep training until the fight."
"I know he's a tough fighter and he's been in a lot of wars, and he has a lot of experience, but I'm very motivated for this fight," continued David. "We have a month and a half in training with Golovkin in camp already. Camp with him is hard work and training here in Big Bear gets you to the next level. The hard work I'm doing here will definitely get me this win."
Promoter Lewkowicz says any remaining questions about young Benavidez will be answered in this fight.
"This is the final test for David Benavidez," said Lewkowicz. "If he does to this guy what he did to so man other fighters, it will be time for the world to acknowledge that David is going to be a star in boxing. This test will show everyone that he is truly everything we've been saying he is since he was a teenager. I am proud of the hard work he is doing and look forward to this great victory."
Date and site for the fight are being negotiated. More details to follow.