By Mark Elezaj
Atlanta – Gervonta “Tank” Davis (23-0, 22 KO’s) moved up to lightweight, winning a title in his second weight division, by stopping a tough Yuriorkis Gamboa (30-3, 18 KO’s) via 12th-round knockout last night at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
Davis, who struggled to make weight, went past the ninth round for the first time in his pro career, dropping Gamboa three times.
Although Davis controlled the action throughout the fight, Gamboa showed his heart, fighting back and testing Davis’ stamina, until he was caught by a left uppercut in the final round, forcing referee Jack Reiss to call off the fight at 1:12.
Gamboa ruptured his right Achillies early in the fight, but continued on into the final round.
“Coming into this fight I knew Gamboa was a tough opponent. I knew he was a vet,” Davis said. “As you see in the ring, I was catching and hurting him, but he was still there. I knew he was better than anyone I had fought before.”
Throughout the fight, Davis landed clean power shots and at times he appeared to hurt Gamboa. In the second round, Davis pushed the action and dropped Gamboa with a left hand.
Gamboa came up limping and appeared to tell both his corner and the referee that he felt he couldn’t go on because he felt there was problem with his right foot.
Reiss called a timeout, gave Gamboa’s corner a second to look over their fighter and restarted the fight.
Gamboa’s right foot continued to give him issues, even sticking out of his shoe at times. His corner finally taped the tear in his shoe closed and Gamboa continued to fight.
From that point, Gamboa increased productivity, landing combinations and forcing clinches as Davis appeared to slow down.
Davis, however, continued to outwork Gamboa, and in the closing moments eighth round, Davis landed a right hook that hurt Gamboa, and a left hand that dropped him.
In the tenth round, a beautiful combination by Gamboa drew a reaction from the crowd but didn’t hurt Davis.
In the eleventh round, Davis came on late and landed a left and a right on Gamboa that stunned him. Gamboa stumbled into the ropes just as the the round ended, but it was not ruled a knockdown.
In the twelfth and final round, Davis attacked Gamboa right away. He landed clean left hands, before landing a left uppercut that dropped Gamboa. Reiss quickly waved off the fight.
According to CompuBox punch statistics, Davis landed 120 of 321 punches (37%), while Gamboa landed only 78 of 617 shots (19%).
“I believe my performance tonight was a C+,” Davis said. “[The weight] wasn’t really a problem it was just short timing and things like that. I blame myself and I don’t blame anyone around me. I blame myself and am continuing to learn.”
“I was focused on catching him with clean shots,” Davis said. “I’m hurting him but he’s not going anywhere. I knew I was in a fight and was going some rounds tonight. I’m only 25 years old so I’m learning each and everyday.”
Davis won a vacant version of the WBA’s lightweight title by beating Gamboa.
“2020 will be a big year,” said Davis.
“I feel comfortable at both weights. I feel I could fight at 130 or 135,” Davis said, despite the weight issues for Saturday’s bout. “I’m the top dog. Bring ’em on.”
Gamboa told Jim Gray following his loss that he suffered an injury to his Achilles’ tendon.
“I feel OK, 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.”
~ The Fighting Voice ~