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Garcia vs Benavidez: Two fights added to July 30 Showtime card

Adam Kownacki will look to snap a two-fight losing streak, plus Gary Antuanne Russell vs Rances Barthelemy on Showtime’s July 30 card.

Adam Kownacki will look to bounce back on the Garcia vs Benavidez show in July
Adam Kownacki will look to bounce back on the Garcia vs Benavidez show in July
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Showtime have officially announced the already-reported July 30 card at Barclays Center to be headlined by Danny Garcia’s move to 154 lbs against Jose Benavidez Jr, and have also announced two more fights for what will be a tripleheader on the network.

Garcia (36-3, 21 KO) hasn’t fought since his Dec. 2020 loss to Errol Spence Jr, and there are a lot of questions about how the former 140 and 147 lb titleholder will fare at junior middleweight, given his small size for the weight.

Benavidez (27-1-1, 18 KO) is a former blue chip prospect whose career just hasn’t worked out like hoped and expected early on. Now 30, he hasn’t won a fight since knocking out Frank Rojas in 2018. He was dominated and then stopped in the 12th round of a WBO welterweight title fight with Terence Crawford in Oct. 2018, and didn’t return for three years, going to a draw last November at home in Phoenix against Francisco Torres.

He does have natural size advantages on Garcia and some talent, so the fight could be more interesting than just the names might make you think in passing. Going to 154 is the test for Garcia, staying (or again becoming) relevant is the test for Benavidez.

The undercard will feature the return of heavyweight Adam Kownacki (20-2, 15 KO), as he looks to bounce back from two straight stoppage losses to Robert Helenius in 2020 and 2021. Kownacki will be facing Ali Eren Demirezen (16-1, 12 KO), a capable Turkish fighter and former Olympian who is no pushover.

Kownacki in the “co-feature” on Showtime riding two losses to Helenius might seem odd, but you have to remember he’s a very popular fighter in the area, and he should help move some tickets. It should also be an entertaining fight; Demirezen can fight, but he won’t tower over Kownacki the way Helenius did, either.

In the opener, Gary Antuanne Russell (15-0, 10 KO) will face Rances Barthelemy (29-1-1, 15 KO) in a 10-round fight at 140 lbs.

The 25-year-old Russell is the youngest of his fighting family, and generally considered to have more upside than Gary Antonio, his 29-year-old brother, but maybe or maybe not the talent of Gary Jr, his 34-yaer-old brother. He has scored two straight good wins, dominating Jovanie Santiago in May 2021, and then coming back in February to beat former titleholder Viktor Postol via 10th round stoppage.

Barthelemy, 36, has won two straight fights since his all-time atrocious Showtime bout with Robert Easter Jr in 2019, which may have been boxing’s most truly deserved draw, as it was a fight neither man deserved to win. On paper, he’s a good test for Russell, but we’ll see what he has in the tank. At his best, he can be a handful, and is a former IBF titleholder at 130 and 135.

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