After eight rounds on a Sunday morning, Gervonta Davis successfully defended his WBA world lightweight title with a TKO victory over Hector Luis Garcia.
Davis overcame a slow start to defeat Garcia, who was 16-1 in his professional career, 28-0 with 26 knockouts. Garcia fought hard in the first few rounds against Davis, but eventually gave up.
One of the most anticipated bouts in boxing will feature Ryan Garcia and a Baltimore native fighting in his second hometown in April.
But before he could get to Garcia, the Dominican who “earned his spot” with a strong 2022, ‘Tank’ Davis had to get past him.
After keeping the sellout crowd of 19,731 waiting until just before 1am for the start of the main event, Davis and Garcia finally got going with two low-event rounds and very few punches thrown. In the fourth round, Davis began to find his rhythm, landing several jabs and getting the crowd on their feet.
The fight was stopped in the middle of the eighth round due to a disturbance in the stands near ringside that appeared to involve Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill and boxer Gary Russell Jr. The two fighters went at it again for over a minute, with Davis putting on quite a show all the way up to the final bell.
Showtime’s first major event at the venue now known as Capital One Arena since Mike Tyson’s final fight against Kevin McBride in 2005 was the main event of this fight. After Davis was arrested and charged with domestic violence in late December, the event was in danger of being cancelled until the woman who made the initial 911 call posted on social media that Davis “did not harm me or our daughter.”
Davis claimed he didn’t give a hoot if the fight didn’t go down because all he cared about was clearing his name.
In the co-main event, undefeated welterweight contender Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis defeated Karen Chukhadzhian of Ukraine via unanimous decision to win the interim IBF welterweight championship. The rising star from Philadelphia had never fought more than six rounds.
I’m glad I went the full 12 rounds,” Ennis said. “I was in fantastic spirits. To my mind, I was in excellent physical condition. What I really need to do is punch harder. Why didn’t I just get him out of here?
In a bout for the vacant IBF welterweight title, Roiman Villa stunned the crowd by stopping Rashidi Ellis at the bell of the twelfth round and winning the fight by majority decision. Ellis, who had previously won 25 consecutive bouts, had his first loss and was unhappy with the outcome.
I want the rematch right now,” Ellis declared. I thought I was in charge of the fight and making all the moves. I can’t say for sure. I have no idea what went wrong.”