Tank Davis breaks down Hector Garcia en route to stoppage victory

In front of Capital One Arena not far from his hometown of Baltimore, Gervonta “Tank” Davis showed why he is one of the most exciting fighters in the sport.

Davis (29-0, 27 KOs) made adjustments during the fight to eventually score a 9th round TKO victory over Hector Luis Garcia to defend the WBA world lightweight championship as 19,731 fans in attendance witnessed Davis take his time to defeat a tough fighter who showed his skill level over the course of the bout. Garcia – who moved up from super featherweight to challenge Davis – suffered the first loss of his pro career (16-1, 10 KOs).

The early stages of the fight had two fighters that were looking for openings to attack. Both Davis and Garcia watched to see who would attack first and show their offensive gameplan. At times when Davis threw punches, he was a bit out of range against the southpaw from the Dominican Republic. Garcia threw some combinations to keep Davis at a safe distance in the first round while Davis attempted to break down the body with jabs and counter hooks.

The early stages of the bout Garcia used his reach advantage to keep Davis at a safe distance. Photo by James Bell

More activity from Davis came in the third round as he put punches together while in range of Garcia. At first, Garcia returned fire with counter hooks but Davis continued to walk forward with a high guard to get close enough to score power shots. By the sixth round both Davis and Garcia looked to score big on the inside while being economical with their punch output. It continued in the seventh and eighth rounds until an altercation took place on the floor ringside which halted the bout for a few minutes.

After the pause during the eighth round, Davis continued his method of walking forward and catching punches to return fire. Eventually a combination of hooks to the body and one to the head of Garcia started the offensive onslaught until the end of the round. Davis had Garcia on the ropes before the bell ended the round and Garcia struggled to get to his corner. He told his trainer Bob Santos that he couldn’t see from his right eye and that led to his corner stopping the bout.

Davis knew that he had the momentum going into the start of the ninth round, but he was not expecting Garcia to stay in his corner.

“I was a little surprised,” Davis said to Jim Gray after his victory. “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. I wasn’t throwing a lot of shots (in the beginning) because I was trying to beat him mentally. 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.”

Davis throws a left at Hector Luis Garcia in their bout on January 7th at the Capitol One Arena. Photo by James Bell.

The slow start was also a topic of conversation after the bout, and “Tank” addressed that as well.

“His southpaw style bothered me a little bit because I don’t fight a lot of southpaws but it’s okay; it’s a part of the game. I feel as though – I have stuff to work on. I’m a fighter and I’m not retired so I’m always willing to learn.”

Hector Garcia was able to speak after his defeat and he explained why he could not continue.

“When I got the shot to my head in the final round, that’s when I couldn’t see from my eye. 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.”

Next on the schedule for Tank is a bout against Ryan Garcia, which has been on his radar for some time. Some fight fans thought that Tank vs. Ryan would have been taking place instead of tonight’s bout, but now that it is out of the way Tank can now prepare for this superfight that is scheduled for April.

“On my end I’m ready. I’ll be in the gym Monday. Well, not Monday. I’ll probably take a week off but I’ll be back for sure soon.”

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