WASHINGTON (AP) — Gervonta Davis defended his WBA world lightweight championship, defeating Hector Luis Garcia by TKO early Sunday morning after eight rounds.
Davis shrugged off a slow start to move to 28-0 with 26 knockouts and handed Garcia his first professional loss in his 17th match. Garcia held on with Davis early but couldn’t answer the bell for the ninth round.
The Baltimore native who fights in his second hometown is set to take on Ryan Garcia in April in one of the most anticipated boxing matchups of the year.
But first, ‘Tank’ Davis had to go through Garcia, the Dominican who he says has ‘earned his place’ thanks to a strong 2022.
After the sold-out crowd of 19,731 waited just before 1 a.m. for the start of the main event, Davis and Garcia waited a bit longer to begin, starting with a few low-event and very rounds. few punches thrown. Davis found his groove in the fourth round, landing several punches and putting the fans on their feet.
An altercation in the stands at ringside led to the referee stopping the action midway through the eighth round, as Davis and Garcia were distracted by the disturbance. The fight resumed for over a minute and Davis put on a show until the bell, landing enough punches to end the match.
The fight headlined Showtime’s first major event at the building now known as Capital One Arena since Mike Tyson’s last fight in 2005 against Kevin McBride. It was in danger of being overturned when Davis was arrested and charged with domestic violence in late December, before the woman who called the police posted a statement on social media days later saying Davis “didn’t hurt me. harm or our daughter”.
Davis said he wasn’t worried the fight wouldn’t happen, saying he just wanted to clear his name.
In the co-feature, Jaron “Boots” Ennis won the interim IBF welterweight championship by unanimous decision over Ukraine’s Karen Chukhadzhian, going the distance for the first time in his career to go undefeated at 30-0. The rising Philadelphia native had never gone past six rounds before.
“I’m glad I went 12 rounds,” Ennis said. “I felt good. I felt like I was at my best. I just need to throw more punches. I should have gotten him out of here.
On the undercard, Roiman Villa knocked down Rashidi Ellis at the bell in the 12th round and upset by majority decision in an IBF welterweight title eliminator. Ellis lost for the first time in 25 fights and disagreed with the decision.
“I want the rematch right away,” Ellis said. “I thought I was dictating the fight. I do not know. I do not know what happened.