Long Beach, California - Jose Benavidez Jr. (24-0, 16 KO's) prepares for his bout against Francisco Santana (24-4-1), on the under card of Terence Crawford versus Viktor Postol July 23 live on PPV in Las Vegas at MGM Grand and Casino. Benavidez training out of Long Beach at the Hill St. Boxing gym who is also living on the second floor of the gym, said he is taking this fight very serious and wants to prove a point. Photos by Mikey Williams.
Benavidez also hired strength and condition coach Cem Eren, who uses plyo metrix movements to strengthen is core and fast twitch muscles says Eren. He also added, "Jose is in very good shape and will be ready come fight night." "I will fight anybody, it doesn't matter." Benavidez says.
Benavidez (24-0, 16 KOs), from Phoenix, AZ, won his first world title in 2014 when he won a hotly-contested unanimous decision over defending World Boxing Association (WBA) interim super lightweight champion Mauricio Herrera. After one successful title defense -- a 12th-round knockout of Jorge Paez, Jr. in 2015 -- Benavidez vacated the title to move up to the welterweight division.
His debut in the heavier weight class took place on December 12, where he won a blistering 10-round unanimous over Sidney Siqueira. An amateur standout, at 16, Benavidez was the youngest boxer to ever win the National Golden Gloves Championships, in 2009. He was also the youngest boxer, at 17, to be licensed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. An exception was made for the minimum age requirement of 18 years because of his exceptional talent. Benavidez is currently the WBA's No. 6 world-rated welterweight contender.
Santana (24-4-1, 12 KOs), from Santa Barbara, Calif., enters this fight having won 12 of his last 13 bouts, with half of those victories coming by way of knockout..
A favorite of Southern California fight fans because of his exciting style and two-fisted power, Santana boasts several notable victories including a first-round knockout of undefeated contender Kendal Mena for the WBA International welterweight title in 2015, and back-to-back unanimous decisions over former world champion Joachim Alcine and Freddy Hernandez in 2013. In his last fight, on April 2, he scored a 10-round unanimous decision over Edward Paredes.