Gervonta Davis set up a showdown with Ryan Garcia after forcing Hector Luis Garcia to retire on his stool after eight completed rounds in Washington on Saturday.
Davis (28-0, 26 KOs) made the crucial breakthrough in the eighth round, staggering Luis Garcia (16-1, 10 KOs) back with a left hand, and after his corner examined him at the end of the round, he opted to remain on his stool.
’Tank’ retained his WBA ‘regular’ lightweight title in front of a sold out Capital One Arena and extended his undefeated record to 28 straight wins with 26 knockouts.
There were some questions over the 28-year-old’s focus and mindset after he was arrested just 11 days before fight night on a domestic violence charge of battery causing bodily harm, although he was later released on bail and has denied the allegations, which were subsequently retracted by his accuser.
The Baltimore man made a familiar, cautious start as Garcia, the current WBA holder at super featherweight established himself in the opening stages.
The 31-year-old was willing to gamble with ‘Tank’, despite his devastating power and traded in the pocket throughout.
Davis began to figure out his foe in the fourth round, closing the gap, although Garcia continued to box well into the fifth round, staying composed despite ‘Tank’ starting to unload.
Garcia had success to the body in the sixth, as his rival was made to miss at times, although he responded with some clean shots to head and body of his own.
After a close seventh round, the bout was momentarily paused by referee Albert Earl Brown after a fight ensued in the crowd and on the resumption, ‘Tank’ upped the ante landing a hard left hand which jolted the Dominican onto unsteady legs.
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Davis followed up with a fearsome assault, which Garcia did well to stand up to, although he appeared rattled as he made it back to his corner.
With ‘Tank’ sensing the moment to close the show, Garcia prevented a potentially brutal finish by retiring on his stool at the start of the ninth, prompting Davis to backflip off the top rope in celebration.
All roads now lead to a mouthwatering meeting between Davis and Ryan Garcia, no relation to Hector, tentatively planned for April 15 in Las Vegas.
Ennis secures IBF shot with points win
Jaron Ennis closed in on a maiden welterweight world title shot, but was made to work in a surprising unanimous decision victory over Karen Chukhadzhian.
Ennis (30-0, 27 KOs) was expected to dispatch of the relatively unknown Ukrainian, but struggled to pin down the crafty operator, going the twelve round distance for the first time in his career.
‘Boots’ was never in any real danger, but such is the hype behind him as the heir to the welterweight throne, any moments of success Chukhadzhian (21-2, 11 KOs) had shocked the Washington crowd.
The 26-year-old was not deterred despite some big blows connecting from the Philadeplhia man in the closing stages, particularly in the tenth round where Ennis staggered him back with hurtful body shots.
However, ‘Boots’ appeared to be growing in frustration as some of his attacks were falling short and an anticipated showreel knockout failed to materialise.
Nevertheless, the 25-year-old ran out a comfortable winner with three scores of 120-108 landing him the IBF interim welterweight strap and an eventual shot at unified IBF, WBC and WBA ‘super’ champion, Errol Spence Jr who will have to face him or vacate his belt.
Villa stuns Ellis
Roiman Villa scored two dramatic final round knockdowns on route to a contentious majority decision victory over Rashidi Ellis, who lost his unbeaten record.
Ellis (24-1, 15 KOs) was in cruise control for the opening eight rounds, using his superior speed and IQ to negate Villa’s persistent attacks.
‘Speedy’, who called out Ennis during the week, was comfortably outboxing the Venezuelan, but was drawn into a firefight from the ninth round onwards and saw himself in major trouble in the final round.
The 29-year-old was floored with a devastating left hook and appeared fortunate to avoid being counted for a second time after rising to his feet when he went down again from a combination, which was not called by the referee.
Ellis was on shaky legs and was on the canvas again right on the bell from a left hook followed by a right hand.
The Massachusetts man just about beat the count to make it to the judges scorecards.
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Two scorecards of 114-122 in favour of Villa (26-1, 24 KOs) overruled one judge who ruled it a draw at 113-113.
Despite the two late knockdowns, Villa appeared somewhat lucky to prevail on the scorecards given Ellis’ overall dominance and he admitted he would be open to a rematch with his rival in his post-fight interview.
Andrade sees off Nicholson
Demetrius Andrade made a successful start to life at 168lbs, dropping Demond Nicholson twice on route to a comfortable unanimous decision over ten rounds.
Andrade (32-0, 19 KOs), a former world champion at 154lbs and 160lbs, had Nicholson (26-5-1, 22 KOs) down in the second round with a right hook followed by a left hand.
The 34-year-old, who had been out of the ring for more than a year, appeared to be fortunate to avoid a count after he fell to the canvas from multiple body shots, however the referee adjudged it to be a slip.
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‘Boo Boo’ proved a class above though, despite Nicholson’s game efforts and he put an exclamation mark on the performance, flooring his compatriot with a left, right combination in the final round
Andrade secured a shutout on the scorecards with all three judges scoring the bout 100-88.
The Providence man will have to beat undisputed super middleweight titlist, Canelo Alvarez if he is to become a three-weight world champion, although a meeting with the winner of David Benavidez vs Caleb Plant or Jermall Charlo appear more likely with Andrade now aligned with Premier Boxing Champions.
Former two-weight world champion, Lamont Peterson (35-6-1, 17 KOs) had a disastrous return to the ring after an almost three-year lay-off, stopped in four rounds by journeyman Michael Ogundo (17-16, 14 KOs).
Highly-rated super lightweight prospect, Brandun Lee (27-0, 23 KOs) extended his unbeaten record with a fourth round stoppage over Argentinian veteran, Diego Gonzalo Luque (21-11-2, 10 KOs), whose corner threw in the towel.
Elsewhere, Kyrone Davis (17-3-1, 6 KOs) bounced back from defeat to David Benavidez last time out with a unanimous decision win over Cristian Fabian Rios (23-16-3, 7 KOs).
— Premier Boxing Champions (@premierboxing) January 8, 2023
At super welterweight, Vito Mielnicki Jr (14-1, 9 KOs) knocked down Omar Rosales (9-2-1, 5 KOs) before scoring a fourth round win.
Welterweight Keeshawn Williams (11-1-1, 2 KOs) secured his third straight victory overcoming Gustavo David Vittori (27-12-1, 12 KOs) on points.
Also at super welterweight, Travon Marshall (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his unbeaten streak, wiping out Shawn West (7-3-1, 4 KOs) in the opening round.
There were two fourth first round victories for lightweight Mia Ellis (6-1, 5 KOs) over Karen Dulin (5-26-1, 3 KOs) and undefeated middleweight prospect, Jalil Major Hackett (5-0, 4 KOs) against Joel Guevara (4-9-1, 3 KOs).