Champions, Challengers and Contenders in Training

 

Champions, Challengers and Contenders in Training

 

    

TRAINING CAMP NOTES

Undefeated Prospects Michael Dutchover and
Ruben Villa Discuss Upcoming Friday Fights
On ShoBox: The New Generation

Live on SHOWTIME At 10:30 pm ET/PT

MIDLAND, Texas – September 18, 2019 – Undefeated prospects Michael Dutchover and Ruben Villa talked training camp and upcoming matchups in advance of this Friday’s ShoBox: The New Generation tripleheader live on SHOWTIME (10:30 ET / PT) from La Hacienda Event Center in Midland, Texas.
Fighting in front of his hometown fans for the first time as a professional, the fast-rising Texan Dutchover (13-0, 10 KOs) returns for his second consecutive test on ShoBox after making an impressive debut in May with a first-round knockout. The 21-year-old prospect will face his toughest test to date in ShoBox veteran Thomas Mattice (14-1-1, 10 KOs), a fearless five-year pro that has displayed promising boxing skills in previous appearances on the developmental prospect series.
In a battle of undefeated featherweight prospects, two-time Junior Olympic National Champion and two-time Golden Gloves Champion Ruben Villa (16-0, 5 KOs) will face Garcia Promotions’ most coveted prospect, Mexico’s Enrique Vivas (17-0, 9 KOs) in a 10-round matchup. In the opening bout, undefeated welterweight prospect Brandun Lee (14-0, 12 KOs) will face Nicaragua’s Milton Arauz (10-1, 5 KOs) in an eight-round bout.
Here is what Dutchover and Villa, who are promoted by Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing, had to say at the conclusion of training camp as they prepare for their fights on Friday night:
MICAHEL DUTCHOVER:
“This was my best camp. I feel very confident. We stepped it up a notch. Everything went smooth. It was pure hard work and dedication throughout this camp.

“I know that my fights are getting tougher and opponents are getting better. Thomas Mattice is going to bring out the best in me. A lot of my fights have been quick knockouts, and hopefully now with this fight, people will see that I bring a high skill level.“I have been very focused on the fight, and not focusing on where the fight is taking place.  My family, friends, coaches and teachers will all be there, but It doesn’t matter where the ring is, I am at home.

“Every fight, I am looking to make a big statement being that it is a main event on ShoBox against a durable guy. I feel this win will catapult me into the rankings in the 135 lb. division.” 

RUBEN VILLA:
“It was a good training camp. We trained in Riverside, Calif., for the last four weeks of camp.”
“I have sparred with Vivas in the past and from what I remember it was my first day back in the gym after a fight. He was an aggressive fighter, and I know I just have to be smart and execute to be successful on fight night.
“I am excited to be back on ShoBox. I know that I must be winning and doing my job for me to keep getting on ShoBox and getting this great exposure.
“I feel that a title shot is in reach. I see by mid-2020 that I will be fighting for a title.”
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Banner Promotions and Thompson Boxing in association with GH3 Promotions, Garcia Promotions and Now Boxing Promotions, are priced at $120, $100 and $80 and can be purchased online at www.haciendamidland,com or by calling 432-563-3737.

David Benavidez Gives Boxing Fans a Taste of Training Camp

By Kirk Lang

Photos by Alyssa Lang and Kirk Lang

It was billed in a press release as his official start of training camp but David Benavidez’ challenge of WBC super middleweight champ Anthony Dirrell was still months away when he took on three sparring partners under the pavilion at the International Boxing Hall of Fame in upstate New York during the Hall’s 30th annual induction weekend.

“This is not really the start of my camp,” said Benavidez. “I still have 16 weeks left ‘til the fight. So I just came out here, enjoyed the people, got some good sparring and just enjoyed myself. I put a show on for the fans.”

David Benavidez (second from left) with his three sparring partners.

Benavidez, 21-0 with 18 knockouts, became the youngest ever super middleweight champion in September 2017 when, at 20 years old, he won a 12-round decision over Ronald Gavril for the vacant WBC super middleweight championship. However, a career misstep saw him test positive for a banned substance last September and he lost his crown.

At the time, Benavidez was scheduled to make the second defense of his belt against Dirrell. The title subsequently became vacant and Dirrell took possession of it in March with a victory over Avni Yildirim.

David Benavidez working out at the Boxing Hall of Fame.

The June 7th sparring in Canastota, New York, along with some shadowboxing the following day, provided a little sample of training camp life for approximately 100 boxing fans that crowded around the outdoor ring in perfect weather. Benavidez, who is intent on getting his belt back, didn’t appear to be too far from fighting weight, and looked sharp as he went three rounds a piece with a trio of local sparring partners.

David Benavidez getting ready for WBC champ Anthony Dirrell.

Benavidez, far more experienced than his opponents, clearly seemed to be holding back at times, but he also made sure to work on defensive maneuvers. However, he did let his hands go here and there, including when he positioned Syracuse, New York-based 6-foot-four-inch pro boxer Lawrence Gabriel, whose record currently stands at 3-2-1, into a neutral corner. Benavidez let the crowd know he could turn the heat up whenever he felt like it. In fact, although Gabriel has survived bullets – in 2015 he was the victim of multiple gunshot wounds while trying to stop a crazed gunman at a Syracuse bar – he couldn’t survive Benavidez. He came close though. As his third and final round with the former world champion neared its end, Gabriel got caught with a beautiful hook to the body. He rose to his feet, but needed a break and leaned against the ropes until the bell rang.

David Benavidez stretching out at the Boxing Hall of Fame.

“He’s a big puncher and he snaps every single punch,” Gabriel said. “And he gets his body into the right position to get power on all of his punches. He’s tough.”

Next up for Benavidez was the smallest of the three sparring partners – Luis “Azucar” Rojas. What Rojas lacked in stature he more than made up for in aggressiveness. Unfazed by Benavidez’ pedigree as a recent ex-world champion, he’d get in close and confidently let loose with combinations, usually to the head. Benavidez seemed to admire his opponent’s tenaciousness, but a well-placed power punch every so often let Rojas know who the real king of the ring was.

“I think he’s good,” said Rojas, who added, “I think he can be better. I’ve seen him fight before. I know he’s better than that.”

David Benavidez sparring.

Did Rojas think Benavidez was holding back?

“Sometimes,” he said.

What did he learn from his three rounds with the former champion who is still at the top of the class at super middleweight?

“That you’ve got to stay ready, all the time,” said Rojas, who admitted to not being at his peak physically at this point in the summer.

David Benavidez sparring before the Hall of Fame crowd.

The last sparring partner for Benavidez was 25-year-old Michael Rycraft, of Utica, NY. Tall and quick with his hands as well as his feet, Benavidez had to work harder in those final three rounds.

“The last one, he was the best one,” said Benavidez. “So I had to use every movement right. There could be no wasted movements.”

As good as Rycraft was, Benavidez left him with a bloody nose his corner-men had to attend to.

David Benavidez sparring before the crowd.

Rycraft seemed to appreciate the sparring, the opportunity, more so than the others that scrapped with Benavidez. He was seen talking with him and thanking him well after the sparring was over.

He told The USA Boxing News, “It’s a blessing. It’s a blessing to be in this position, to learn from a champion, a true champion, a young champion at that.”

Avid boxing enthusiast Mark Jones, of Syracuse, NY, who watched Benavidez’ nine rounds of sparring – a pre-cursor to actual training camp -believes Benavidez has the goods to defeat Dirrell.

David Benavidez in action.

“I think he’ll beat Dirrell based on his youth and the fact that Dirrell is in the post-prime phase of his career,” he said. “Benavidez has a big frame. I think he could eventually perform well at light heavyweight.”

Dirrell-Benavidez is scheduled to take place in late September in Los Angeles.

_________________

Archie Moore

A young Muhammad Ali with then heavyweight champion Ingemar Johansson.

Joe Louis with some young fans during training.

Joseph and John Rinaldi with Heavyweight Champion Riddick Bowe at his training camp in the Poconos in 1992.

Alex Rinaldi and Gerry Cooney

 

Roberto Duran and the Boxing Twins in 1982

Hall of Famer Gerard Rinaldi