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Baltimore boxer Gervonta Davis has a new opponent for his Feb. 9 title fight

Baltimore’s Gervonta Davis has a new opponent for his Feb. 9 defense of the World Boxing Association junior lightweight title after his previous opponent, Abner Mares, pulled out because of a right-elbow injury suffered in sparring last week.

Davis (20-0 with 19 knockouts) will defend against 30-year-old Hugo Ruiz, a former junior featherweight world champion. The change is a disappointing one for the 24-year-old rising star, who was looking to impress fans with a showcase win over Mares, a fighter once considered among the best in the world. But Davis will still headline the Premier Boxing Champions card, to be broadcast on Showtime starting at 10 p.m.

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Baltimore's Gervonta Davis is only 23, but he'll be fighting to put himself back on a superstar track when he faces Jesus Cuellar on Saturday night for the vacant WBA super featherweight title.

Davis last fought on April 21, when he scored a sensational third-round knockout of Jesus Cuellar to claim the vacant WBA title. He expressed repeated frustration at his inactivity for the rest of 2018 but seemed invigorated by the prospect of fighting Mares, a former three-division champion.

Ruiz, the late replacement for the fight at Dignity Health Sports Park (formerly the StubHub Center) in Carson, Calif., holds a four-inch height advantage on Davis and has won 39 fights against four defeats with 33 KOs. But he’ll likely enter the ring as a substantial underdog because he’s naturally lighter than Davis and lacks the Baltimore fighter’s explosive speed and power.

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“New opponent. Same goal,” Davis wrote on Twitter after the change was announced Wednesday afternoon.

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