David Benavidez captures WBC crown with controversial split decision win over Ronald Gavril

By Jody Kohn

If you believed the betting odds, or most of the people in attendance, it was nothing but a formality when talented, hard punching 20 year-old David Benavidez (19-0) took on Ronald Gavril (18-2) for the vacant WBC super middleweight title.  However, nobody told Gavril that he was expected to provide little in the way of an obstacle to that coronation.

The two fighters engaged in a spirited 12 rounds of action, in which both men had their time to shine.  While Benavidez provided the harder punches, Gavril was game and through a large volume of punches at the Phoenix, AZ based fighter.

In the 12th, Gavril shocked Benavidez with a quick shot that dropped his foe.  Benavidez, however, seemed more off balance than hurt and had no trouble getting back to his feet.  That knockdown led many to believe Gavril did enough to get the decision in what looked like a very even bout.

However, while almost everyone in attendance thought they saw a close fight, none of the judges did.  One scored the fight 116-111 for Gavril, while the other two had it 116-111 and 117-111 for Benavidez.  No matter who deserved the win, it was pretty clear that none of those scores were accurate.  Gavril’s team immediately lobbied for a rematch, and considering the absurdity of the scores, and the excitement the fight provided, that would certainly be warranted.

In other televised action, J’Leon Love (23-1-1) tallied a majority draw against Abraham Han (26-3-1) in a fight that had to go to the scorecards following an ugly cut to Han from a clash of heads.

Also, fast rising Caleb Plant (16-0) remained perfect, sweeping the cards against Andrew Hernandez (19-7-1) in a workmanlike performance.  Scores were 100-90 from all judges.

In other action, former world champion Peter Quillin made his debut at 168 and earned a unanimous decision over a very game Dashon Jackson.

Check out below for some interviews from the participants.

Gavril’s trainer Eddie Mustafa Muhammad:

J’Leon Love:

Caleb Plant:

Peter Quillin:

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