Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis 23-0 (22) picked up the WBA ‘regular’ lightweight title with a 12th round knockout of Yuriorkis Gamboa 30-3 (18) at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday night.
It was looking like an early night for Davis when he had the 38-year-old Gamboa on the deck in the second round, but the Cuban veteran gamely battled back despite twisting his ankle as he hit the canvas. Davis had Gamboa on the canvas again in the eighth but couldn’t close the show.
The 25-year-old southpaw was dominant through large sections of the fight but appeared to fade in the later rounds, increasingly fighting in spurts.
The end came at the 1:17 mark of the final round when Gamboa went down for the third time in the fight while in the middle of an exchange, prompting referee Jack Reiss to wave off the contest.
Scores at the time of the stoppage were 109-98, 109-97 and 108-98, all in favour of Davis. The only round scored to Gamboa was the seventh.
“I wasn’t pressed for the knockout,” Davis said. “Once I seen I was hurting him and he wasn’t getting out of there, I just had to touch him up and win the rounds.”
It was the first time in his career Davis – who initially weighed in over the 135-pound weight limit before losing the additional weight in the two-hour window provided by the Georgia State Athletic Commission – had to fight past the ninth round.
“I showed I’m an elite fighter,” he said. “I’m not trying to rush it and get him out of there and wind up getting caught. That was my main focus going in. Not trying to rush it. Touch him up and show the people I have skills.”
Gamboa said his performance was hampered by an ankle injury suffered in the second round.
“I feel okay, but I think I ruptured my Achilles’ tendon before I fell in the second round,” Gamboa said.
“I’m a warrior and I kept going, but as soon as I fell, I knew it was ruptured. I couldn’t put pressure on it. I wanted to keep going. I told my corner it was a problem, but I wanted to keep going because I’m a warrior.”