The crowd at the State Farm Arena were mainly in support of the Baltimore native and many expected a knockout. They just didn’t expect it to come as late as it did.
Gervonta “Tank” Davis successfully moved up in weight to win the WBA lightweight title over Yuriorkis Gamboa by knockout in the 12th round in front of 14,129 in attendance in Atlanta and stayed unbeaten, now with a record of 23-0 and has a title in the second weight class that he has entered. Gamboa is now 30-3 in his professional career.
While many felt that Davis would be a huge favorite in the fight and that it would be an easy win, it didn’t look that way over the course of the fight. He did score an early knockdown in the 2nd round which got the pro-Davis crowd buzzing. However, Davis did not end the night early. He started to work on his defense and timing against the 38 year old Cuban, and that led to some opportunities for Gamboa to land a few shots. With Davis not throwing his jab in the middle rounds, Gamboa was able to get through with his defense in blocking some of the power shots that Davis was throwing. He was able to do that while suffering a leg injury after the knockdown in the 2nd round.
As the rounds went on, Davis became more successful with the power shots as he was stalking Gamboa around the ring. That strategy of Davis to divert away from throwing the jab and just pursue Gamboa and land hard punches was intended to break down Gamboa late in the fight. At one point Gamboa was able to connect a few punches on Davis and won a round, but nothing significant enough to turn the tide in his favor. In the 8th round Davis scored another knockdown and was working on ending the fight then, but not before the end of the round saved Gamboa.
The pace of the fight slowed back down in the 9th and 10th rounds, and Davis was looking to be content with getting more rounds in the bank before the fight went the distance. It wasn’t until early in the last round where Davis had Gamboa hurt once again from the power shots to cause him to grab Davis on multiple occasions and also trip and fall to the canvas. Afterwards, Davis caught Gamboa with multiple left hands and then ended the night with an uppercut to have Jack Reiss step in and waive the bout at the 1:45 mark of the 12th round.
While Davis gave himself a grade of “C-plus” after the fight, he enjoyed being in the ring against a rugged opponent in Gamboa. “It was a great experience,” Davis said. ” Coming into this fight I knew Gamboa was a tough opponent. I knew he was better than anyone I had fought before. I was mainly focused on catching him with clean shots.”
“As you see in the ring, I was catching and hurting him but he was still there. I was catching him with clean shots and wasn’t hurting him, so I knew I was in for rounds tonight.”
Davis landed a total of 120 punches in the fight, with 93 of them being power shots. He also made Gamboa miss a lot of his punches, only connecting on 13 percent of his total punch output.
With Davis getting the win at lightweight, the question is what will he do in 2020? There are rumors that he may face Vasyl Lomachenko, but it is likely that Davis will be featured as a pay per view attraction before that fight could take place. Whether it is a lightweight or at super featherweight does not matter to Davis, as he believes that he can perform well at both weight classes. He told Jim Gray of Showtime that he would be good either way.
“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.”
Cover photo by James Bell