WASHINGTON (AP) — Gervonta Davis defended his WBA world lightweight championship, beating Hector Luis Garcia by TKO early Sunday morning after eight rounds.
Shaking off a slow start, Davis improved to 28-0 with 26 KOs and handed Garcia his first professional loss in his 17th game. Garcia stuck with Davis early on but failed to answer the bell for the ninth round.
The Baltimore native, who fights in his second hometown, is expected to face Ryan Garcia in April in one of the most anticipated boxing showdowns of the year.
But first “Tank” Davis had to come through Garcia, the Dominican who he said had “earned his spot” thanks to a strong 2022.
After the sell-out crowd of 19,731 waited until just before 1 a.m. for the main event to begin, Davis and Garcia waited a little longer to get going, beginning with a few low-event rounds and very few shots. Davis found his groove in the fourth round, landing several jabs and getting the fans on their feet.
An altercation in the ringside bleachers caused the referee to call off the action midway through the eighth round as Davis and Garcia were distracted by the interference. The fight continued for more than a minute, and Davis put on a show all the way to the bell, landing enough punches to end the match.
The fight marked Showtime’s first major event at what is now Capital One Arena since Mike Tyson’s last fight in 2005 against Kevin McBride. It was in danger of being canceled when Davis was arrested and charged with domestic violence in late December, before the woman who called police released a statement on social media days later, saying Davis “didn’t have one for me or our daughter.” damage inflicted”.
Davis said he wasn’t worried the fight wasn’t going to happen and said he just wanted to clear his name.
In the co-feature, Jaron “Boots” Ennis won the IBF interim welterweight championship via unanimous decision over Ukraine’s Karen Chukhadzhian, going the distance for the first time in his career and going 30-0 undefeated. The fast-rising Philadelphia native had never gone past six rounds before.
“I’m glad I did 12 laps,” said Ennis. “I felt great. I felt at my best. I just need to throw more punches. I should have gotten him out of here.”
On the undercard, Roiman Villa knocked out Rashidi Ellis at the bell in the 12th round and caused an upset by majority decision in an IBF welterweight title eliminator. Ellis lost for the first time in 25 fights and didn’t agree 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.”