FORMER super-featherweight world champion Gervonta Davis (23-0, 22 KOs) successfully moved up to 135 pounds and won the WBA lightweight belt with a 12th round knockout of Cuban veteran and former unified champion Yuriorkis Gamboa (30-3, 18 KOs) Saturday night in front of 14,129 fans from the award-winning State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
Baltimore’s Davis further cemented his status as one of boxing’s most must-watch attractions, delivering knockdowns in rounds two and eight before delivering the final blow in round 12. Davis’ trademark left-hand was on display all night, causing all three knockdowns including a devastating uppercut in the final round that closed the show in style and brought the fans in a raucous State Farm arena to their feet.
The power-punching southpaw landed on 48 percent of his power punches and established overall leads of 120-78 in overall punches, 27-9 in jabs and 93-69 in power. Davis’ excellent defence was also on display as Gamboa was only able to connect on 13 percent of his punches, including just 3 percent of his jabs.
38-year-old Gamboa, who was severely hampered early on by what he believes to be a ruptured Achilles tendon that occurred just before the second-round knockdown, showed tremendous heart and resilience to survive what looked like multiple knockout blows from the 25-year-old Davis.
“Coming into this fight I knew Gamboa was a tough opponent,” said Davis, who went past the ninth round for the first time in his career. “I knew he was a vet. As you see in the ring, I was catching and hurting him but he was still there. I knew he was better than anyone I had fought before. I was mainly focused on catching him with clean shots. I was catching him with clean shots and wasn’t hurting him, so I knew I was in for rounds tonight.”
When asked by SHOWTIME reporter Jim Gray to grade his own performance, Gervonta Davis replied with “C-plus.”
“It was a great experience. I’m only 25 years old. I’m learning each and every day. 2020 will be a big year. I feel comfortable at both weights. I feel I could fight at 130 or 135. I’m the top dog. Bring ‘em on.”
“I feel OK, but I think I ruptured my Achilles tendon before I fell in the second round,” said Gamboa. “I’m a warrior and I kept going, but as soon as I felt it I knew it was ruptured. I couldn’t put pressure on it. I wanted to keep going. I told my corner it was a problem but I wanted to keep going because I’m a warrior. I’m going to keep going. 135 is my weight. I want to stay there.”