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David Benavidez to return in July

David Benavidez’s team says he’ll return in the summer.

Boxing: Benavidez vs Gavril Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Coming off of a one-sided rematch victory over Ronald Gavril, WBC super middleweight titleholder David Benavidez suffered a “badly bruised” right hand, but his return to the ring is already being discussed.

Promoter Sampson Lewkowicz tells ESPN that Benavidez, 21, will return to the ring in July to make the second defense of his title. No possible opponent was mentioned.

Benavidez (20-0, 17 KO) went the 12-round distance for the second time, but this time around put a bad beating on Gavril, a fight that didn’t really resemble their war from last September at all.

Benavidez is boxing’s youngest world champion at the moment, and there are plenty of potential names he could face at 168, but a lot of the bigger stars are either busy or unlikely to face Benavidez in the summer.

WBA titleholder George Groves, of course, has a spot in the World Boxing Super Series final. WBO titleholder Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez is a Top Rank fighter, and thus highly unlikely to face a PBC fighter, plus Top Rank has a whole plan drawn out for Ramirez as it is. IBF titleholder Caleb Truax will probably rematch James DeGale, and Chris Eubank Jr mentioned wanting to fight Truax, too.

Right now, the WBC rankings have Callum Smith, also busy with the WBSS, at No. 1, followed by Eubank (who may drop after losing to Groves), Anthony Dirrell, Jesse Hart, Gavril, and then Rocky Fielding, the British champion.

Of that list, the most likely is probably Dirrell or Fielding. Dirrell was supposed to fight for the vacant WBC belt last September, but pulled out due to injury. Ultimately, that wound up being the first Benavidez-Gavril fight, so Anthony could find himself back in that spot, if he wants the fight. He’s a fellow Haymon fighter, and won his last outing in November, beating Denis Douglin.

But this is all speculation for the time being, of course, and who knows? It could be someone less appealing, it could be a surprise and something bigger.

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