Oscar backs Hollywood for Vegas bout

NEWCASTLE boxer Chad "Hollywood" Bennett will fight in Las Vegas on Australia Day under the banner of Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions.

The retired multiple world champion's company has joined forces with Bennett's handler, American-based Australian Vlad Warton, to promote the program at "The Joint" at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on January 26.

The main event will be the interim World Boxing Council junior welterweight title fight between Lucas Matthysse and Mike Dallas Jr.

Bennett will fight Ghanaian national champion Ben Ankrah on the undercard, chasing a victory to set up an April 5 world title fight in Newcastle promoted by Warton's Millennium Events company.

"I think it's going to be fantastic. It's a great opportunity for Chad, to be a part of a Showtime-based promotion in his building up to a world title opportunity in Newcastle," Warton told the Newcastle Herald.

"As a professional boxer, Chad needs to take one fight at a time. He can only really focus on Ben Ankrah at this particular point in time, and as a person working with him that's what I'm concentrating on as well.

"God allowing, the morning after, when we've scored the 'W' in our favour, then we can immediately start making formal plans for the April 5 program to proceed in Newcastle."

Warton has held talks with former world middleweight, super-middleweight and cruiserweight champion James Toney and former world heavyweight champion Samuel Peter to fight on the card in Newcastle.

Other fighters being sounded out include Australian heavyweight champion Solomon Haumono and former national heavyweight champion Lucas "Big Daddy" Browne.

Haumono knocked out Japan's Kyotaro Fujimoto in the fifth of 12 scheduled rounds in Osaka on Monday to secure the vacant Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation heavyweight belt, and unbeaten Browne has won 13 of his 14 fights by knockout.

"We're looking to bring an exciting program to Newcastle - maybe a Samuel Peter and some other interesting names," Warton said.

"And of course we're hoping for Chad to have the fight of his life in front of his Novocastrian home crowd, to give a little bit back for their support, so God allowing he comes through unscathed and wins this fight here in Las Vegas on January 26."

If he beats Ankrah, Bennett's likely opponent in Newcastle will be another Ghanaian, Ebenezer Lamptey, the World Boxing Organisation African junior welterweight champion.

Lamptey, 26, has won 22 of 23 professional fights, including 17 by knockout.

"There's a lot of exciting things ahead for me, and I feel privileged to have people like Vlad Warton and Richard Claut in my corner," Bennett said. "Now being part of a De La Hoya Golden Boy promotion is another big step for me, and now it's up to me to get the job done and take care of business against Ben Ankrah."

Bennett will leave for Las Vegas in mid-January. He will be joined by training partner Will Sands, a relative of the legendary Dave Sands, who held the Australian middleweight, light-heavyweight and heavyweight titles when he was killed in a truck accident at Dungog in 1952.

A junior middleweight who has fought four times for three wins and a draw, Sands, 27, has been working out with Bennett and trainer Arty Armstrong in preparation for his fight against Herb Begay on the Vegas undercard.

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