Baltimore's Gervonta Davis landed a furious series of power punches to stop Jose Pedraza in the seventh round and win the IBF junior lightweight title on Saturday night in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Davis delivered a flashy, star-making performance in just the 17th fight of his undefeated career. He dominated the first three rounds against the previously undefeated Pedraza and badly hurt the champion with a body shot in the sixth round.
He pressed his advantage from there, hammering Pedraza throughout the seventh round to secure his 16th knockout in 17 career victories.
"He caught me with good shots, and I took them and dished it back," Davis said in a post-fight interview on Showtime.
His promoter, Floyd Mayweather Jr., then called him the future of boxing.
Davis, 22, became the first Baltimore fighter to win a world title since Hasim Rahman upset Lennox Lewis for the undisputed heavyweight crown in 2001.
Pedraza, who was making the third defense of his 130-pound title, represented a significant step up in competition for Davis. But Davis, who fought more than 200 times as an amateur, insisted the Puerto Rican would not show him anything he had not seen.
In an interview Monday at the Upton Boxing Center, where he has trained since he was seven, Davis predicted an eighth-round stoppage.
The West Baltimore gym, where Davis works with trainer Calvin Ford, served as a refuge for him as he grew up just a few minutes away, watching his parents struggle with drug use and mourning friends who fell victim to the dangers of the surrounding neighborhood.
Davis said he wanted to win the title in part to show Baltimore children what they could achieve through years of focused work.