Former two-weight world champion Danny Garcia returned after a long lay-off, and claimed a majority decision win over Jose Benavidez Jr at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York.
Garcia (37-3, KO21) was coming back to action after a break to deal with mental health issues, and was last seen in December 2020, dropping a decision to Errol Spence Jr. Benavidez Jr (27-2-1, KO18) came into this one winless in his previous two bouts, his last a draw with Francisco Emanuel Torres at the back end of 2021.
This contest was set for twelve at super welterweight.
Garcia went on the attack early on in this one, rather than the normal, counter-attack style we are accustomed to seeing from the Philadelphian, and he specifically targeted the body of Benavidez. The Arizonan was reduced to chasing Garcia for most of the bout, with ’Swift’ using his movement and speed to set traps and move in and out of range. The third saw Garcia land with a superb four punch combination, and he upped the workrate once more in rounds four and five, again using his speed and timing. It looked like a handy lead at halfway, and Garcia continued to dominate, landing a spiteful hook in the seventh that froze Benavidez momentarily. Benavidez finally tasted some success in the ninth, as he rocked Garcia’s head back with a stiff right hand, but that was about as good as it got for him. Garcia went for the early finish down the stretch, but was unable to find it, instead settling for the judges verdict.
Surprisingly, one judge ruled a 114-114 draw, but was thankfully overruled by 117-111 and 116-112 tallies for Garcia.
Garcia eyed a rematch with Keith Thurman, or a tilt at WBA champion, Erislandy Lara, in his post-fight interview.
Adam Kownacki (20-3, KO15) suffered his third defeat on the spin, as he was outhustled and outworked by Ali Eren Demirezen (17-1, KO12) over ten rounds at heavyweight.
Kownacki started brightly enough, but Demirezen quickly took over, and largely dominated the middle rounds. Kownacki was bloodied and battered by the later sessions, but bravely went out on his shield, rocking the Turk late on, but Demirezen regained control, and took a unanimous points win by scores of 97-93 (twice) and 96-94.
Gary Antuanne Russell (16-0, KO16) is fast building a reputation as a knockout artist, and he kept his 100 percent record in tact as he stopped former world champion Rances Barthelemy (29-2-1, KO15) in the sixth of their scheduled ten rounder at super lightweight. A jolting right hook dropped the Cuban in the sixth, ad the referee decided Barthelemy was unable to continue after administering the count, and stopped the contest.
Former world title challenger Sergey Derevyanchenko (14-4, KO10) returned to winning ways after three straight losses in world class, and the Ukrainian took a wide points win at middleweight against Joshua Conley (17-4-1, KO11). Two scores of 99-91, and a third at 98-92 secured victory for ‘The Technician’.
Junior Younan (17-0-1, KO11) needed less than a round to take care of Dauren Yeleussinov (10-2-1, KO9) at super middleweight, and at super welterweight, Vito Mielnicki Jr (12-1, KO8) stopped Jimmy Williams (18-9-2, KO6) in the sixth of their scheduled eight rounder.
Ismael Villarreal (12-0, KO8) took the battle of unbeatens at super welterweight, as he dropped LeShawn Rodriquez (13-1, KO10) twice on the way to a sixth round stoppage win.
Ricky Lopez (21-5-2, KO6) and Joe Perez (16-6-4, KO10) fought to a draw in a six rounder at super featherweight, while Miguel Roman (2-0, KO0) saw off debutant Marcus Redd (0-1) at super bantamweight on the cards after four rounds