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Tank Davis vs Leo Santa Cruz moved to Oct 31 to avoid UFC clash and allow live crowd

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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The fight between three-time world champion Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis 23-0 (22) against four-division world champion Leo ‘El Terremoto’ Santa Cruz 37-1-1 (19) has been pushed back a week to October 31 and will now take place at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

The bout will be broadcast live on Showtime pay-per-view.

Davis was scheduled to meet Santa Cruz on October 24 but the fight was set to go head-to-head with the UFC 254 card and take place with no live audience at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.

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The move by Showtime now pits their broadcast against the ESPN+ show headlined by unified bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue 19-0 (16) defending his IBF and WBA belts against Jason Moloney 21-1 (18).

Davis will be defending his secondary WBA lightweight strap while Santa Cruz will be putting his WBA super featherweight title on the line. Both boxers will need to make the 130-pound weight limit.

“I’m looking forward to showing the world how hard I’ve been working in camp. We are just a few weeks away and I’m already in great shape,” the 25-year-old Baltimore southpaw said.

“Headlining on pay-per-view has always been a dream of mine since I started boxing. I can’t wait to put on a spectacular performance against multiple division world champion Leo Santa Cruz.”

Mexican Santa Cruz, 32, has only ever been defeated by Carl Frampton by majority decision in 2016. He reversed the decision in their immediate rematch.

“October 31 is going to be the biggest fight of my career,” said Santa Cruz. “I’m going to fight a very tough opponent, maybe the toughest opponent of my career.

“Two titles are going to be on the line, and this will be my first time headlining a pay-per-view. So I’m going to do everything that I can to put on a good show.

“Davis is known for his power, but I think with my experience and ring IQ I can break him down. He’s probably going to be very aggressive in the early rounds. But if I do what I’m supposed to, and execute our game plan, I will win.’’

The event is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, TGB Promotions, GTD Promotions and Santa Cruz Boxing Club.

“This fight between Gervonta Davis and Leo Santa Cruz is such a great fight that we had to have it with fans, which will be a first for a major boxing event since COVID-19 started,” said Floyd Mayweather, president of Mayweather Promotions and a 12-time, five-division world champion.

“Tank Davis is a special talent, a super-skilled fighter and I have been in the gym regularly to watch and help him prepare for a tough opponent in Santa Cruz, who we all know always comes in shape and ready to fight.

“It’s going to be a great night for Mayweather Promotions, for boxing and for sports. The best fighting the best is all we can ask for.”

Showtime president of sports and event programming Stephen Espinoza added: “We continue with the tradition of offering boxing fans the best matchups in the hottest divisions, pitting the best versus the best.

“Tank Davis facing Leo Santa Cruz is one of the most exciting matchups of the year. You have a young, hungry star with devastating power in Davis and an experienced and absolutely relentless four-division champ looking to conquer a title in a fifth division.

“This is the type of matchup boxing fans have waited the entire year to watch. Two superstars in their toughest matchup to date battling for titles in two weight divisions at the same time.”

Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, believes Davis is a future superstar of the sport.

“Gervonta Davis is the most exciting fighter in the sport, and he’s set to headline his first pay-per-view card and set the world on fire,” he said.

“He’s up against an experienced, four-division world champion in Leo Santa Cruz, who is looking to take him down and hand him his first L on October 31.”

“Gervonta Davis vs. Leo Santa Cruz is one of the best matchups that can be made in boxing, with each fighter in position to score a career-defining victory,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions.

“We’re excited to bring a historic showdown with world titles in two weight classes on the line to fans at the Alamodome.

“Davis vs Santa Cruz presents a fascinating clash of styles, with Santa Cruz’s relentless pressure against Davis’ fight-changing power. Adding in three high-stakes undercard attractions, this pay-per-view is lined up to present drama in the ring from start to finish.”

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