He is gifted and he is a miracle. Jose Benavidez Jr has everything to be one of the big boxing stars. At 16 years old, in 2009, he won the Golden Gloves and became the youngest winner in history. At only 17, after 120 wins in 125 amateur fights, he won his first professional bout by TKO in the 1st round in January 2010 (Light Welterweight).
The young American of Mexican origin (he was born in Los Angeles on May 15, 1992) adds 8 other successes by KO in the first three rounds during this year 2010. He is then called by several world champions, including Many Pacquiao and Amir Khan, to become their sparring partner. Promoter Bob Arum signs him, the famous coach Freddie Roach, who has taken him under his wing, says he is his best prospect.
Jose Benavidez Jr does not disappoint his mentors. In 2011, now in the Welterweight division, he keeps the streak alive. In June 2014, he wins the NABF belt against Henry Auraad by KO in the first round. He then decides to go back to the Light Welterweight division and gets his first World belt opportunity, after 21 wins in 21 fights ! In December 2014, he beats his fellow countryman Mauricio Herrera and becomes the WBA World champion, title he still holds today.
However, Jose Benavidez Jr’s career should have stopped one day in August 2016, when he was shot in the leg while walking in the street. Doctors were then explicit : boxing is over for him. But Jose’s will and determination appear to be stronger than prediction. That’s why he is a miracle. It will take him more than a year to recover but he comes back almost as if nothing had happened. 18 months after his gunshot injury, he wins the 26th fight of his career by… TKO and, in the wake, gets his 27th wins by KO, the 18th one. At 26 years, Jose Benavidez Jr is still unbeaten and, next October, on the 13th, he will fight against US Terence Crawford for the WBO Welterweight belt.
By Ludovic Mauchien