Gervonta Davis has dream return to Baltimore, retains world title by TKO at Royal Farms Arena

In the end, reality surpassed fantasy for Gervonta Davis.

For more than two years, he’d campaigned to defend his world title in Baltimore, promising a grand party if the homecoming fight ever happened. But he never expected to hear his supporters, almost 15,000 of them, roaring from every corner of Royal Farms Arena on Saturday night.


Seconds earlier, he’d landed a series of explosive left hands to bring a quick end to Ricardo Núñez’s challenge for his World Boxing Association super featherweight championship. Referee Harvey Dock had stepped in to protect the Panamanian fighter as Davis pummeled him along the ropes.

The stoppage at 1 minute, 33 seconds of the second round brought an abrupt but satisfying conclusion to the hometown showcase Davis had coveted for so long.


“It was actually better than I thought it would be,” he said.

“He’s straight out of Baltimore,” Davis’ trainer and mentor, Calvin Ford, said. “You should be proud of him.”

Núñez pressed forward as expected to start the fight, and Davis countered with a series of straight lefts to the body as he gauged his opponent’s speed and power.

He briefly allowed Núñez to back him against the ropes to begin the second round, but Davis threw the challenger off balance by bobbing up and down in a defensive crouch.

“I was trying to open him up more,” Davis said. “He wasn’t trying to commit to any punch.” As soon as he snapped Núñez’s head back with a violent left hook, the fight was essentially over.

Dock said he stepped in quickly to protect Núñez, because “I think he was defenseless at that time.”

“I thought he was out on his feet,” said Davis, who moved to 22-0 (21 knockouts) with the victory.

Though Núñez came in with 19 knockouts in 21 career victories, Saturday’s matchup was as much a celebration of Davis’ rise from the streets of West Baltimore as it was a test of his world-class boxing skills.

On the same day that President Donald Trump insulted Baltimore via Twitter, a sellout crowd of 14,686 packed the city’s downtown arena to dance and holler for one of their own. Ringside attendees included Ravens great Ed Reed, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next weekend, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti and Davis’ promoter, Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Davis and Mayweather were asked about Trump’s comments after the fight.

“We love the city of Baltimore,” Mayweather said. “We’d like to stay positive. This is a young champion, and we’re here to talk about what he did tonight. It’s his night.”

The hometown boy came to the ring in black shorts with orange fur trim, a week after he threw out the first pitch at Camden Yards.


Davis had yearned to bring a big-time fight to his city, which had not hosted a world championship match in 49 years.

The 24-year-old seemed loose as could be in the days before the fight, grinning his way through a Thursday news conference even as Núñez promised repeatedly to knock him out.

Davis struggled to make the 130-pound weight limit for previous bouts, losing his first world title on the scale before his matchup with Francisco Fonseca in August 2017. But he promised weight would be no issue this time around, and sure enough, he registered at a trim 129½ pounds Friday afternoon.

Davis and his promoters have promised he’ll fight once more this year. For all the excitement around his homecoming, fans hunger to see the precocious champion risk his title against a top competitor. Davis made it clear he wants a unification matchup with Tevin Farmer, the International Boxing Federation super featherweight champion from Philadelphia. Davis and Farmer have kindled a nasty social-media rivalry.

“I believe both of the fighters want it,” Davis said. “We’ve been going back and forth over social media for like two years now, so I think it’s time.”

Farmer (who also won Saturday night, in Texas) and Davis have said they’d like to settle their differences in the ring. But the matchup presents political difficulties, because Davis fights for Premier Boxing Champions and usually appears on Showtime while Farmer fights for promoters Lou DiBella and Eddie Hearn and appears on DAZN.

Mayweather said a Farmer-Davis fight would likely be held in New York, but added he hopes to bring Davis back to fight in Baltimore in the near future.

If the Farmer matchup cannot be made, it’s also possible Davis could meet Yuriorkis Gamboa, who knocked out Roman “Rocky” Martinez in the second round of the co-main event Saturday in Baltimore.

In his post-fight interview with Showtime’s Jim Gray, Gamboa said he hoped to fight Davis.

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