LAS VEGAS - Unbeaten rising star David Benavidez and powerful contender Ronald Gavril will battle for the vacant WBC Super Middleweight World Championship on Friday, Sept. 8 live on SHOWTIME in the headlining attraction of a Premier Boxing Champions event from The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas.
The SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/PT and will feature two additional showdowns in the super middleweight division. Once-beaten J'Leon Love (23-1, 13 KOs) will battle Texas-native Abraham Han (26-3, 16 KOs) in a 10-round bout while unbeaten prospect Caleb Plant (15-0, 10 KOs) takes on Mexico's Alan Campa (16-3, 11 KOs) in 10 rounds of action.
Benavidez (18-0, 17 KOs) has a chance to make history - at just 20-years-old he is aiming to become the youngest super middleweight champion in history and the youngest reigning world champion in the sport today. Gavril (18-1, 14 KOs) will seek to keep the WBC 168-pound title in the Mayweather Promotions family after it was vacated by his stablemate, Badou Jack.
"This opportunity means the world to me," said Benavidez. "I've been working for his since I was a little kid. It's all come down to this moment when I'm ready to take this belt and take over the 168-pound division. The time is almost here, and I can hardly wait for September 8. Winning the championship would be enough on its own. But the opportunity to be the youngest in the sport is a major accomplishment and the biggest of my life, so far. I have a tough competitor in front of me, and I know he's treating it as seriously as I am. I've been working for two and a half months for this fight and I'm not overlooking him."
"It's been a great journey for me getting to this point of fighting for a world title," said Gavril. "I have a great team behind me who pushes me every single day to perform my best, learn from my mistakes and perfect my technique. Those values have gotten me here and I am thankful for such an amazing opportunity. I will go out there and give it everything I have, I can't leave the ring without the championship belt."
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Mayweather Promotions and Sampson Boxing, are priced at $100, $50 and $25, and are on sale Tuesday, Aug. 22. To purchase tickets visit AXS.com or the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas Box Office.
"In November 2015, I said that I had new blood for our industry David Benavidez, who would be the best and youngest super middleweight champion in the history of our sport,'' said Sampson Lewkowicz, Benavidez' promoter. "We didn't cherry pick this opponent. He was the next available contender when Anthony Dirrell pulled out. We expect fireworks. We expect to birth a new superstar. The most important thing is to determine in which round Gavril will be knocked out, because I believe that we're talking about matching a jet plane against a helicopter. So I expect a spectacular performance from Benavidez, who will begin his run as the new blood in boxing and will keep it going until he retires."
"To be in a position to announce another great card coming just weeks after the biggest event in sports history shows that Mayweather Promotions shows no signs of slowing down," said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. "We are thrilled to present this fight card on September 9, filled with tremendous talent featuring top contenders in the Mayweather Promotions stable. Gavril has proven to be a tough competitor, he's on a long win streak with his last four coming by way of TKO, Love making his return to the stage is sure to excite fans, and the always exciting Caleb Plant will definitely put on show. This is what boxing is about, bringing together some of the most exciting talents on one stage."
After delivering a highlight reel knockout of Rogelio Medina in May, Benavidez has now racked up a perfect 18 wins in 18 starts at just 20-years-old. The younger brother of undefeated Jose Benavidez, David picked up four victories via stoppage in 2015 and continued with four more in 2016 including blasting out previously unbeaten Francy Ntetu in June and tough contender Denis Douglin in August. Most recently, Benavidez began his 2017 campaign with a second-round destruction of Sherali Mamajonov in January. The Phoenix-native will look to make history in the 168-pound division on September 8.
Born in Romania, Gavril won a 165 amateur fights and trained with the National Team before turning pro in 2011 and eventually moving to Las Vegas to train at the Mayweather Boxing Club. The 31-year-old won his first 11 pro fights before dropping a narrow contest to veteran Elvin Ayala. Gavril bounced back emphatically with seven straight victories including then unbeaten Oscar Riojas and once-beaten Christopher Brooker. He scored a third-round stoppage of Decarlo Perez in April ahead of his first world title opportunity.
A once-beaten contender at 168-pounds, the 29-year-old Love bounced back from his lone defeat with three victories 2015 before stopping Michael Gbenga and Dashon Johnson in 2016. The Inkster, Mich., native earned wins over Marco Antonio Periban, Derrick Findley and Lajuan Simon on his way to contender status and will look for another victory to put him in world title contention.
Han is a former champion kickboxer and third degree black Blackbelt who hails from El Paso, Texas and enters this fight the winner of his last three contests, including a first round stoppage in March of this year. A winner of his first 19 pro bouts, the 32-year-old owns a victory over Marcos Reyes in addition to narrow losses to former champion Sergio Mora and former title challenger Fernando Guerrero.
A 2011 National Golden Gloves champion, Plant has begun to make his name in the professional ranks since turning pro in 2014. After picking up six victories in 2015, Plant continued his success with stoppages of Adasat Rodriguez and Carlos Galvan before going 10 rounds for the first time in a unanimous decision victory over Juan De Angel in August 2016. The 25-year-old from Nashville began training in Las Vegas this year and picked up a victory over Thomas Awimbono in February.
Fighting out of Sonora, Mexico, the 25-year-old Campa enters this contest the winner of three of his last four contests, including a victory over then once-beaten Paul Valenzuela Jr. last April. Campa has fought professionally since 2010 and won his first nine fights while also battling top contenders Sergey Derevyanchenko and Jesse Hart.