After months of social-media teases from Gervonta Davis about a Baltimore homecoming fight, it’s official: the WBA super-featherweight champion will defend his title July 27 at Royal Farms Arena.
Tickets for Davis’ fight against mandatory challenger Ricardo Nunez will go on sale noon Friday on Ticketmaster.com and at the Royal Farms Arena box office. Showtime will broadcast the 9 p.m. card, with Davis in a headlining spot for the second time this year.
“Bringing a show to Baltimore for Gervonta to perform on a stage in front of his hometown fans has been a long-time ask from him and I’m glad it’s coming to fruition,” Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, said in a statement. “The timing that his homecoming is taking place couldn’t be better with him having elevated his career to being the most exciting fighter in the sport and ready to give his hometown fans a treat this summer.”
Cuban star Yuriorkis Gamboa was initially rumored to be Davis’ opponent, but the WBA instead ordered him to face a Nunez, a relatively unproven Panamanian challenger who’s 21-2 with 19 knockouts. Nunez’s best win came last June over previously undefeated Mexican fighter Elvis Torres.
Though the undefeated Davis (21-0 with 20 knockouts) has yet to be matched with a marquee opponent, Showtime has invested heavily in the 24-year-old Baltimorean because of his exciting style.
Showtime Sports president Stephen Espinoza called Davis, “already one of the biggest stars in boxing, and his drawing power continues to grow with each performance.”
Given the knockout records of Davis and Nunez, Espinoza predicted “fireworks for as long as this fight lasts.”
Davis hopes to emulate the model of fellow champions such as heavyweight Deontay Wilder and welterweight Terence Crawford, who built their followings in part by fighting before raucous crowds in their hometowns.
He last defended his title Feb. 9 with a first-round knockout of Hugo Ruiz, a late replacement for the injured Abner Mares. Even before he added that victory to his undefeated record, Davis had begun touting a July fight in Baltimore.
In a bygone era, the city’s downtown arena hosted fights involving Sugar Ray Leonard and other top stars. But boxing has not been regularly featured there in recent decades. Davis has long said he hoped to defend his title at home and inspire a new wave of boxing enthusiasm in Baltimore.
He has trained for most of his fights at the Upton Boxing Center on Pennsylvania Avenue, near where he grew up, but has not competed in his hometown since his fourth professional bout.
“It was always a goal of mine to bring a world title fight back to my city of Baltimore,” Davis said in a statement. “I’m excited and grateful to my team for helping make this happen on Saturday, July 27. … I can’t wait to put on a great show and to see all my supporters in Baltimore help me make it a night to remember at Royal Farms Arena.”
GERVONTA DAVIS VS. RICARDO NUNEZ
WBA super-featherweight championship bout
July 27, 9 p.m.
@Royal Farms Arena
Tickets: On sale starting Friday at ticketmaster.com