Notebook: Rising star Benn and Matchroom agree on new promotional deal

Castro homecoming; podcast appearance; Quick hits

Welterweight up-and-comer Conor Benn has signed a new multi-fight deal with promoter Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing.

The deal, announced on Friday, comes two weeks after Benn scored the biggest win of his career, a lopsided 10-round unanimous decision — 100-90, 99-91 and 97-93 — over the vastly experienced Adrian Granados on the Mauricio Lara-Josh Warrington II undercard in Leeds, England.

The 24-year-old Benn (19-0, 12 KOs), the son of British legend Nigel Benn, has dramatically improved in his most recent fights — the win over Benn, a first-round knockout of Samuel Vargas and a near-shutout decision over Sebastian Formella — which many attribute to his work with trainer Tony Sims.

“I am extremely excited to extend my professional relationship with Matchroom Boxing,” Benn said. “Matchroom believed in me from the start, they gave me an amazing opportunity and have supported me to grow as a professional fighter. Now with the backing of a global streaming platform in DAZN we have made huge plans to be involved in big fights, headlining major events across the globe and making progressive moves towards achieving my goal of being a world champion in the near future.

Sims is a believer in Benn’s ability.

“I have seen the talent emerge from Conor since the early stages,” Sims said. “It has taken time and persistence to get here and I know Eddie and the Matchroom team have always backed us, produced opportunities and delivered at the highest level. Right now, in my opinion there isn't a better team in boxing for Conor to take him all the way. With Matchroom and DAZN supporting us, Conor can progress to a level where he can be consistently headline major events, in major fights as we continue our pursuit of world title challenges. I'm extremely happy we have a solid plan and signed a deal moving forward with Eddie and the team.”

Besides his improving in-ring ability, Hearn also sees a potential big attraction in Benn.

“I'm delighted to sign a new multi-fight promotional deal with Conor Benn,” Hearn said. “I've witnessed first hand how hard this young man has worked and he now sits as a major player in British boxing. His next fight will be in December and an announcement on this will be made soon."

Castro homecoming

Junior lightweight prospect Marc Castro’s first three professional bouts took place on Canelo Alvarez undercards in December, February and May.

The 22-year-old knew that he would eventually fight on a non-Canelo card and that will take place on Oct. 16. As excited as Castro was to fight on those big undercards headlined by one of the fighters he looks up, he is also pumped up that his fourth fight will be a homecoming bout in Fresno, California.

Castro (3-0, 3 KOs) will fight on the undercard of the former four-division world titlist Mikey Garcia’s welterweight fight with Sandor Martin, which was announced this week as a DAZN main event that will take place at Chukchansi Park, a baseball stadium in the city.

“God’s timing is perfect. I’m grateful and thrilled for the opportunity to fight in front of my hometown for the first time as a pro,” said Castro, who was a three time National Silver Gloves and two-time National Junior Olympics champion during his standout amateur career.

I’ve always had amazing support in Fresno and I’m so proud to be fighting there on Oct. 16, hopefully the first night of many to come,” Castro said. “Fighting at home is important for me. I know that there are massive fights ahead of me in the future, and I would love for them to take place in Fresno.”

Said Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn: “What a great occasion for Marc. Fighting for the first time as a pro in your hometown is always a big deal, but Marc will take it in his stride and show the fans in his backyard that they are in for a ride to the top if they join him on his journey.”

Other prospects on the Matchroom Boxing card against opponents to be determined include Australian featherweight Brock Jarvis (19-0, 17 KOs), Los Angeles super middleweight Diego Pacheco (12-0, 9 KOs), Brooklyn, New York, middleweight Nikita Ababiy (10-0, 6 KOs) and Flemington, New Jersey, light heavyweight Khalil Coe (1-0, 1 KO).

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Podcast appearance

I joined my pal Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated and DAZN on his boxing podcast this week and we got awfully feisty discussing several topics. We discussed a big fight that was recently made between Terence Crawford and Shawn Porter, the Evander Holyfield-Vitor Belfort fiasco, sanctioning body stuff (good and bad) and Oscar Valdez and his recent drug testing mess. Please give it a listen here:

Quick hits

Canelo Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) and Caleb Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) will meet the media at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon at a Beverly Hills, California, hotel to kick of the promotion for their undisputed super middleweight championship fight on Nov. 6 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The winner of the fight will be the first undisputed 168-pound champion in division history, be it in the three- or four-belt era. Although the fight will headline a Premier Boxing Champions pay-per-view card, PBC has yet to determine which of its broadcast partners, Fox or Showtime, will produce, distribute and help market the event. Typically, the broadcaster would have been identified as soon as the fight was made.

Fast-rising welterweight Jaron Ennis (27-0, 25 KOs), 24, of Philadelphia, the 2020 prospect of the year, will face division gatekeeper Thomas Dulorme on a Showtime-televised co-feature on Oct. 30, multiple sources told Fight Freaks Unite. TGB Promotions, which will promote the Premier Boxing Champions card, is on the agenda for the Nevada State Athletic Commission meeting on Wednesday seeking the date to promote a Showtime card at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. Ennis is coming off his biggest win, a one-sided sixth-round knockout of former junior welterweight titlist Sergey Lipinets on April 10. Dulorme (25-5-1, 16 KOs), 31, of Puerto Rico, has lost two fights in a row by decision to top prospect Eimantas Stanionis in April and interim title bout to Jamal James in August 2020.

On Friday, Australian junior middleweight contender Tim Tszyu (19-0, 15 KOs), 26, the son of Hall of Fame former undisputed junior welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu, announced his next fight will come against Takashi Inoue (17-1-1, 10 KOs), 31, of Japan, on Nov. 17. It will take place an Australian site to be determined. Inoue has won four fights in a row since a one-sided decision loss challenging then-junior middleweight titlist Jaime Munguia in January 2019.

Show and tell

The first fight between Julio Cesar Chavez and Meldrick Taylor is the stuff of legend. It is an all-time great battle in which Chavez and Taylor met to unify two junior welterweight world titles March 17, 1990 at the Las Vegas Hilton. Taylor was winning all the way but also taking tremendous punishment until the fight famously (or infamously, depending on your point of view) was stopped by referee Richard Steele with two seconds left with Taylor on his feet after a knockdown. It went down as the fight of the year and fight of the decade. It was the most controversial stoppage in boxing history and still engenders debate to this day. Far less famous, and not nearly as competitive or exciting, was their rematch, which Chavez made Taylor wait four years for. By the time they met again, Taylor was completely shot and was fighting mainly on heart. Chavez took him apart and stopped him in the eighth round to retain his title. That fight, along with a legitimately loaded undercard, took place 27 years ago on Friday. Here’s a program in my collection.

Benn and Castro photos: Matchroom Boxing

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