YORK -- Shane Benfield, a professional boxer from York, is trying to take a big step closer to the level of premier, world-class fighting.
At a recent press conference at the Cotton Gin Tavern in downtown York, 33-year-old Benfield announced plans to fight against Mickey Stackhouse, a boxer from Florence. He said a good performance could propel him toward fights against boxers ranked in the top 10 worldwide.
"I've been getting a lot of calls...but I'm not going to look past (Stackhouse)," Benfield said. "He's a pretty decent boxer with a really good right hand. I'll come out cautious. Hopefully, I'll be able to take it."
Benfield's fight will be one of seven matches on Jan. 10 that are part of "Fight Night at the Radisson Hotel: Two," in Columbia.
The event will be headlined by two-time WBA world champion Travis Simms.
Benfield will be defending a title of his own, Carolina Light Heavyweight Champion, a title he has held for five years.
No stranger to big fights, Benfield said he feels ready for the match.
"In the past year and a half, I've fought two guys ranked in the top 10," he said.
One of those was against Peter Manfredo Jr., the runner-up in NBC's boxing series, "The Contender."
"That was my biggest fight so far," Benfield said about his match against Manfredo, a defeat. "I held my own, though. It gave me confidence and showed me that I can compete with the top guys in the world."
Benfield said one successful match against a top opponent on national TV could kick-start a career.
Benfield began his career in boxing 12 years ago, after playing football and basketball in school.
"I like the competition. It's all up to you," he said. "And I have a better chance at being a professional boxer than a quarterback."
Benfield said he was flipping through some boxing matches one night on TV and saw Vinny Paz, a five-time world champion Italian-American boxer nicknamed 'The Pazmanian Devil,' in a fight.
"He showed a lot of emotion, left all his energy in the ring," Benfield said. "I picked up my style from him. That's what inspired me to fight."
While training for his own fights, Benfield runs the York Boxing Academy, and works alongside several professional fighters to help teach young boxers.
"There are about 15 kids we are working with," Benfield said. "We just started classes about three weeks ago."
While those students are advancing their own careers, they'll likely be cheering for Shane 'The Hitman' Benfield in his match on Jan. 10.
Fight Night advance tickets are $25 and may be purchased online at brownpapertickets.com or www.whiterockboxing.com. The Radisson is at 2100 Bush River Road, Columbia. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. For details, call 803-413-7129 or 803-798-2266.