Danny “Swift” Garcia, a two-division world champion and a favorite among Brooklyn fans, will make his super welterweight debut against exciting challenger Jose Benavidez Jr. in a 12-round fight that serves as the main event of a packed tripleheader on Saturday, July 30. The event is presented by Premier Boxing Champions and will be broadcast live on SHOWTIME from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
At 9 o’clock, the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® broadcast gets underway. ET/6 p.m. In a 10-round heavyweight contest, Polish superstar and Brooklyn’s all-action Adam Kownacki will battle Turkish Olympian Ali Eren Demirezen, while unbeaten rising star Gary Antuanne Russell will meet two-division champion Rances Barthelemy to open the event.
Tomorrow, Thursday, June 9 at 10 a.m., tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and DSG Promotions, go on sale. ET and are available for purchase on the websites seatgeek.com and barclayscenter.com. Starting on Thursday, June 9 at 12 p.m., tickets can also be purchased at the Barclays Center’s American Express Box Office. ET.
Tickets for the presale go on sale TODAY at noon. ET through 10 p.m. ET using the codes: BOXING on seatgeek.com and barclayscenter.com
“This card on July 30 has everything a boxing fan could ask for and is set up to deliver compelling action from start to finish,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Philadelphia’s Danny Garcia has established a strong fan base in Brooklyn and will look to give them a show in his 154-pound debut against the always tough Jose Benavidez Jr. The heavyweight clash in the co-main event will be full of action as well, as popular heavyweight contender Adam Kownacki takes on Ali Eren Demirezen with both fighters looking to take a big step up the heavyweight ladder. Plus, Gary Antuanne Russell has garnered recognition as a future pound-for-pound star and can continue to solidify those credentials battling the crafty former champion Rances Barthelemy opening up the action on SHOWTIME.”
Garcia (36 to 3, 21 KOs), a world champion at 140 and 147 pounds, has one of the most outstanding résumés in sports and is currently vying for the 154-pound championship. He will fight in the Barclays Center for the ninth time. In 2012, when he made his SHOWTIME debut, he was the main attraction of the arena’s inaugural boxing event. The native of Philadelphia defeated numerous champions during his run through the super lightweight category, including Erik Morales, Amir Khan, Zab Judah, Lucas Matthysse, Nate Campbell, and Kendall Holt. The 34-year-old earned victories over Lamont Peterson, Paulie Malignaggi, and Robert Guerrero as a welterweight. In 2016, Guerrero was defeated for a vacant title. Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, and undefeated unified champion Errol Spence Jr. were among the boxers Garcia narrowly lost to during his welterweight campaign.
“I feel blessed,” said Garcia. “I’m back like I never left. I can’t wait to return to the ring in front of the fans at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, who have always supported me, and for all my fans across the country watching on SHOWTIME. The ‘Danny Garcia Show’ returns July 30 and you don’t want to miss it!”
The 30-year-old Benavdez (27 to 1 to 1, 18 KOs) is trained by his father Jose Sr., and is the older brother of unbeaten two-time world champion David Benavdez. Long-time contender Benavdez, who lost to Terence Crawford in a title match at 147 pounds in October 2018, went up to super welterweight in his most recent contest. In his first match in just over three years, Benavdez battled Francisco Emanuel Torres to a draw in November of last year. Before facing Crawford for the world title, the Phoenix native had triumphed over opponents like Mauricio Herrera, Francisco Santana, and Frank Rojas.
“This is a Mexico vs. Puerto Rico matchup and both of us have something to prove,” said Benavídez. “It’s going to be a great fight for the fans. I feel strong and I know I will end this one on fight night. I’m bigger and stronger than he is and come July 30, he will see the difference in power between us.”
Kownacki, 33, who is 20 to 2 with 15 knockouts, returns to the welcoming atmosphere of Barclays Center, where he previously competed ten times and amassed a 9-1 record with five knockouts. Kownacki, who was raised in Brooklyn after moving from Lomza, Poland when he was seven years old, will return to the ring after losing two thrilling matches to Robert Helenius. He has triumphed over Charles Martin, a former world champion, as well as Gerald Washington and Chris Arreola, two past title contenders. His fight with Arreola in August 2019 broke all heavyweight CompuBox records for power punches delivered and landed.
“I’m very excited to be back in the ring, especially back home in Brooklyn at Barclays Center,” said Kownacki. “I’m ready to show the world that Robert Helenius just caught me at a complicated time in my life, where juggling being a new father and a fighter was a new experience and learning how to manage both was something I needed to learn how to do. For this fight, my family went away to Poland while I’m in camp so I could only focus on boxing. It was a difficult decision to make, but the right one. Demirezen is coming off a couple big wins, so I know he will bring his ‘A’ game, but I need to beat him to be back in the heavyweight mix. Our fight on July 30 will be action-packed with my hand being raised in victory.”
Demirezen, a 2016 Olympian for Turkey, has competed professionally since going pro in late 2016. He fights out of Hamburg, Germany (16 to 1, 12 KOs). The 32-year-old won his first 11 professional matches, including a knockout of Rad Rashid in the second round to win the European heavyweight championship in 2018. Demirezen’s debut in the United States occurred in 2019 when he defeated Efe Ajagba after going the distance for the first time. Demirezen has won five straight fights since that loss, including a victory over former championship contenders Gerald Washington in January and Kevin Johnson in May.
“I’m very happy to fight in the U.S. again on July 30,” said Demirezen. “After my big win in Miami [in January], I’m very confident I’m going to give everyone a great fight in Brooklyn. I’m ready for anything Adam Kownacki brings to the ring and I want to make a big statement with a win over him.”
Russell (15 to 0, 15 KOs), a native of Capitol Heights, Maryland, trains with his older brothers, former WBC Featherweight Champion Gary Jr. and bantamweight contender Gary Antonio. He comes from one of the most illustrious fighting families in the sport. Since going professional in 2017 after his appearance for the United States at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, the 25-year-old Russell hasn’t let an opponent make it to the final bell. Russell most recently recorded the most remarkable professional victory of his career, stopping former champion Viktor Postol in their match on SHOWTIME in February.
When questioned about his battle with Barthelemy, Russell replied incoherently, “Deforestation is just a phase that shows there’s more space for growth and conquest,’’ and then stated that he would explain what he means after winning this fight.
Cuban-born Barthelemy (29 to 1 to 1, 15 KOs), who fights out of Las Vegas, scored two more victories in 2021, defeating All Rivera by unanimous decision in January and Gustavo David Vittori in two rounds in November. Barthelemy, a world champion at 130 and 135 pounds, has important victories over Denis Shafikov, Mickey Bey, Argenis Mendez, and Antonio DeMarco. The only other blemish on his record is a draw with former champion Robert Easter Jr. in 2019. His only professional defeat was against Kiryl Relikh in a rematch for the 140-pound belt in 2018. Barthelemy is the middle brother between the older Yan, who took home a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics, and the younger Leduan, who has a history of fighting.
“I’m thrilled to be competing on SHOWTIME, especially against an undefeated young lion like Gary Antuanne Russell,” said Barthelemy. “He’s knocked out every opponent he’s faced, but he’s going to find out [really] quick that I’m on another level. I’m more determined than ever to take this young kid to school. Don’t be surprised if I take him out, as I’ve been working on my power and explosiveness. The new and improved version of myself will be on display July 30 in Brooklyn.”
The Enigma Boxing Gym Monday workout participants’ comments are as follows:
GARY ANTUANNE RUSSELL
I’m up against a fighting style that I believe is similar to Viktor Postol. Postol is a little more defensive, but they’re both long and rangy opponents.
“It’s of course a plus that I was able to be the first person to stop Postol. But at our gym and with our family, we don’t magnify fights like these. We pay attention to our credentials and don’t really worry about what our opponents bring. The way we train, we’re not going to run into styles that we’re not accustomed to.
“With this sport, you have to have diversity in your style. Because you never really know what kind of opponent you’re going to be facing. They might change up their fighting style based on yours. We just strive for excellence and execution.
“In the Postol fight, he tried to use his length to keep me at bay. But we executed our game plan. It wasn’t about overanalyzing our opponent, but we saw that we could exploit his flaws. He pulled back a lot and he didn’t want to fight on the inside. We tried to keep ourselves in comfortable positions.
“We train for perfection every day. We know that execution is what wins fights. If our opponent can’t make the necessary adjustments to keep us off them, then that’s on them. This sport is a battle of wits. My will versus your will and my intelligence versus yours.
“My brothers have always been in my corner. We all now are so tunnel-visioned on what’s important. Our motto in the gym is that the ultimate revenge is [a] success.
“If we come out unscathed from July 30, we’ll start working on the next opponent and get another fighter with great credentials in there. We’ll be looking at fighting for the titles. Our goal was to clean out the division. That’s the first goal, then we’ll start moving up to other weight classes eventually.”
GARY RUSSELL JR., Gary Antuanne’s Brother and Trainer
“Our father was not just a magnificent father, but a teacher and a mentor. He molded not just men, but soldiers. He gave us the tools, the skills, and the wit to properly maneuver through this jungle that we’re in.
“The biggest thing that our father taught us was versatility. That’s the biggest key with anything you do in life. I’m a great fighter because I’m versatile. A lot of these fighters are just really good at one thing. I don’t want to see someone who’s only good at fighting one style.
“I was always side-by-side working with my father when it came to working with my younger brothers. Even before I was going to fight, if they were on my undercard, I would work their corners as well. I think my father was somewhat always preparing me for this.
“Rances is a great opponent. Whoever wins this fight is getting a big leg up in their career. My brother is looking to take over the division. I don’t think there’s any fighter in the division who he couldn’t beat. He can run through these guys. All he has to do is listen, that’s it.
“Your corner is your last line of defense. As a fellow fighter, I understand that. My brother is still learning to adjust on the fly. He’s learning, but there [are] still things left to tweak.
“My father touched so many people in the sport of boxing and played some role in where so many people have gotten in their careers. Whether it’s fighters or coaches, he was never shy about passing along jewels and information.”