Super middleweight prospect David Benavidez found himself in the toughest fight of his career on June 25.
He was in a slugfest with unbeaten Francy Ntetu at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, in what was the fight of the night -- other than the memorable main event battle between welterweight titlist Keith Thurman and former titleholder Shawn Porter.
Benavidez (15-0, 14 KOs), a 19-year-old slugger from Phoenix and the younger brother of welterweight contender Jose Benavidez Jr., eventually knocked out Ntetu in the seventh round. But rather than taking a nice summer break after a difficult fight, Benavidez is getting right back into the ring.
Barely a month after that rough go, Benavidez will face Denis Douglin in the scheduled 10-round main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card on Friday at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia (ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 9 p.m. ET).
Benavidez said he is preparing himself for another competitive fight against Douglin (20-4, 13 KOs), 28, of Marlboro, New Jersey. Although Douglin has been stopped in three of his defeats he has won three fights in a row since a seventh-round knockout loss to longtime contender George Groves in November 2014.
"Fighting on ESPN is great exposure for me and my team, especially in the main event. We all worked so hard to get in this position and now it's time to capitalize on this great opportunity."David Benavidez
"This is going to be a tough fight,” Benavidez said. “I know Douglin is hungry to give me my first loss. He's coming off three wins in a row, so I'm taking this fight very seriously. Being that he's a southpaw, I'll have to do some things a little different. We worked on all that stuff in camp so I know I'm going to be ready for anything he brings to the ring.
"We had another great training camp out here in Long Beach, California. We put the final touches and wrapped up camp and I'm ready to go. There was plenty of good sparring and we worked on some things we know will help us in this fight. I'm in great shape and I feel sharp."
Benavidez will be competing in his first scheduled 10-round bout and his first televised main event, which he is excited about.
"Fighting on ESPN is great exposure for me and my team, especially in the main event,” Benavidez said. “We all worked so hard to get in this position and now it's time to capitalize on this great opportunity. I know a lot of family and friends back home in Phoenix will be tuning in. I just want to shine out and perform to my best ability.
"Douglin, being that he's from New Jersey, will have a lot of fans rooting against me, but I'm not going to let anything distract me from the task at hand and that's coming back home with a win. My dad Jose (Benavidez Sr.) has been guiding my corner from the first day I started boxing around three years old. Together we have a strong bond and I respect him very much. He's come up with a great game plan tailor made for Douglin. I want nothing more than to bring (my father) another great victory."
In the 10-round co-feature, lightweight prospect Alejandro Luna (20-0, 15 KOs), 24, of Bellflower, California, will square off with Stephen Ormond (21-2, 11 KOs), 33, of Ireland, who has won four bouts in a row since he was disqualified in the 10th round for persistent head butting against Terry Flanagan, who later won a lightweight world title, in February 2015.