Benavidez Makes History with Title Win
The vacated WBC Super Middleweight Championship now has a new holder, as David Benavidez defeated Ronald Gavril via split decision to win the title in the main event of Friday night’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) event from Las Vegas, Nevada, on Showtime.
With the title win, Benavidez has become the youngest world champion in super middleweight boxing history. He is also now currently the youngest active world champion in the sport.
“It feels amazing to win this title,” Benavidez said. “It’s everything I’ve dreamed about since I was a little kid. It’s everything I’ve dedicated myself to and I’ve worked hard for. It finally paid off.”
The fight was not without some debate of the finish, however. The fight ended with a split decision, with one judge awarding the bout to Gavril 116-111, while the other two judges gave the fight to Benavidez with scores of 116-111 and 117-111.
Some thought Gavril did enough to win the bout and title, including Gavril himself.
“I feel I won the fight. I dominated the pace. I can’t say anything else other than it was up to the judges,” Gavril said. “The only thing I can do is to ask for a rematch.”
After an opening round of both men feeling each other out, Benavidez seemed to be in control early on, looking more comfortable around the ring. Gavril started working on the inside in the third round, and while effective, he seemed to get hurt a bit by wild and close-in shots, in the third and fourth, respectively.
After a closely contested fifth round, Benavidez seemed to take his foot off the gas in the sixth. Gavril worked the body, and he was getting to Benavidez while also showing off some defense.
While both men scored in the 10th and 11th rounds, Gavril got a key knockdown of Benavidez late in the final round. Some feel this, along with Benavidez easing up the pressure since mid-fight, could have won Gavril the fight.
But the judges, and Benavidez, didn’t see it that way.
“I felt my performance was good except for the last round when I got too anxious and wanted to knock him out,” Benavidez said. “I let my young side takeover and I wanted to give the fans a great fight. I didn’t really feel hurt but it was a shock knockdown. I know to be careful and more cautious. It was a learning experience.”