Boxing superstar and five-time world champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis sent a supportive sold-out crowd in the nation’s capital home happy with another memorable victory as he displayed his skills and then stopped super featherweight champion Hector Luis Garcia in the ninth round Saturday night headlining live on SHOWTIME PPV from Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
The Baltimore-native Davis delighted the 19,731 fans in attendance at the sold-out event as he methodically broke down the previously unbeaten Garcia, before hurting him badly with his vaunted left hand late in the eighth round. Visibly shaken on his way back to the corner, Garcia stayed on his stool as the bell for round nine rang. Moments later, his trainer Bob Santos advised referee Albert Earl Brown to stop the fight, with the official stoppage coming 13 seconds into round nine.
“I was a little surprised he didn’t come out,” said Davis. “But I knew he was hurt bad but he’s a fighter and he didn’t want to show it. I knew he was hurt though.”
“When I got the shot to my head in the final round, that’s when I couldn’t see from my eye,” said Garcia, who owns the WBA Super Featherweight World Title. “I didn’t know where I was when he hit me with that shot. My vision is back but my head still hurts. I couldn’t see from my right eye. It was going well up until that point. I was picking my shots.”
The two champions jockeyed for position over the first three rounds before Davis got the fans back on their feet with a series of hard power shots late in round four. Garcia displayed a solid straight left hand that he employed to counter the speed of Davis’ jabs, and was the busier fighter according to CompuBox, throwing 345 punches to Davis’ 239.
However, it was Davis’ effective and efficient attack, which built as the fight went on, that helped him take control of the fight. After landing only four power punches in the first three rounds, Davis connected on 69 in rounds four through eight.
“I wasn’t throwing a lot of shots in the beginning because I was trying to beat him mentally,” said Davis. “I was trying to trick him with my hands and my eyes and things like that because he’s a tough fighter. I had to bait him.”
The victory was Davis’ fifth successful defense of his WBA Lightweight Title, and one that the judges saw him in control of throughout, as he led 79-73 on two cards and 78-74 on the third. After the fight, Davis sent a message to his fellow unbeaten rival Ryan Garcia, as the two near a previously announced blockbuster clash this spring.
“God willing I’m ready for the fight with Ryan Garcia,” said Davis. “It’s scheduled for April. I’m here. He’s been training. He’s been talking. And let’s see who’s really about that.”
Preceding the pay-per-view, SHOWTIME PPV COUNTDOWN streamed live on the SHOWTIME SPORTS YouTube channel and SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page and was topped by sensational prospect Vito Mielnicki Jr. (14-1, 9 KOs) scoring a fourth-round knockout of Omar Rosales (9-2-1, 5 KOs). Mielnicki’s onslaught came late in round three, as a series of power punches sent Rosales into the ropes late in the frame. Early in round four, Mielnicki’s attack forced Rosales’ corner to throw in the towel, with referee David Braslow waving off the fight 26 seconds into the round.
The streaming presentation also included undefeated rising star Brandun Lee (27-0, 23 KOs) in a super lightweight attraction that saw him dominate Argentina’s Diego Luque (21-11-2, 10 KOs) via a fourth-round TKO (2:55). Nearly five months after he was knocked down for the first time in his career in a fight he otherwise dominated, Lee took a mostly patient approach on Saturday, carefully picking apart Luque before jumping him in the fourth round. A series of right hands caused Luque’s trainer to throw in the towel. Kicking off the live stream, rising super welterweight prospect Travon Marshall (7-0, 6 KOs) blitzed San Antonio’s Shawn West (7-3-1, 4 KOs) on his way to a first round stoppage just 48 seconds into the fight.
Davis vs. Garcia will air on SHOWTIME on Saturday, January 14 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT and will include Jaron Ennis’ Interim IBF Welterweight Championship with Karen Chukhadzhian.
Veteran sportscaster and “The Last Stand” podcaster Brian Custer hosted the SHOWTIME PPV telecast while versatile combat sports voice Mauro Ranallo once again handled the blow-by-blow action alongside Hall of Fame analyst Al Bernstein and three-division world champion Abner Mares. Three more Hall of Famers rounded out the most decorated team in boxing – ringside reporter Jim Gray, world-renowned ring announcer Jimmy Lennon, Jr., and boxing historian Steve Farhood as unofficial scorer. Former junior middleweight world champion and SHOBOX® commentator Raúl “El Diamante” Marquez called the fights in Spanish on Secondary Audio Programming (SAP) with accomplished sportscaster Alejandro Luna. Four-time Emmy® award winner David Dinkins, Jr. executive-produced the broadcast with Bob Dunphy, son of the storied boxing announcer Don Dunphy, directing. Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell of the award-winning MORNING KOMBAT digital talk show hosted the SHOWTIME PPV COUNTDOWN streaming card before the pay-per-view.