Gervonta Davis retained his WBA ‘regular’ lightweight title with a hard-fought unanimous decision victory over Isaac Cruz, after a pulsating battle in Los Angeles on Sunday night.
Davis (26-0, 24 KOs) was pushed all the way by the tough Cruz (22-2-1, 15 KOs) and went the distance for just the second time in his career, prevailing on scores of 116-112 and 115-113×2 in a tougher than expected assignment at Staples Center.
Cruz stepped in for original opponent Rolando Romero, who was removed from the bout following sexual assault allegations.
The Mexican brought the heat from the opening bell and connected with a sharp left hook to the head within the first ten seconds of the clash, with the champion beginning the contest on the back foot.
‘Tank’ was much more aggressive in the second round, catching Cruz with an uppercut, but was caught himself by a hard left hook to the body as the underdog remained in the argument.
The 23-year-old’s frantic pace showed no signs of relenting and he found success with smart body attacks in rounds three and four, although Davis would finish each round the stronger.
‘The One’ upped the ante by the fifth round, establishing his rhythm with quick combinations, mixing up head and body attacks, coupled with sharp defence.
The pair opened up in the sixth with three-weight world champion, Davis landing with a right hook and a straight left, although Cruz responded with shots to head and body, in a round the home favourite did enough to take.
Davis, who is promoted by former pound-for-pound king, Floyd Mayweather Jr was letting his hands go with vigour in the seventh and managed to tee off with multiple straight left hands down through the guard of Cruz, although the 27-year-old was forced to eat a left hook counter for his troubles.
The IQ of Davis was clear to see by the eighth round, making ‘Pitbull’ miss and displaying his speed and power, although Cruz landed two powerful uppercuts towards the conclusion.
After a quieter ninth round which ‘Tank’ edged, Cruz continued to charge forward in the tenth round, pinning his foe back to the ropes with two big right hands and despite the Baltimore man returning fire, he appeared stunned after a pinpoint left hook jolted his head back.
‘Tank’ controlled the bulk of the eleventh and the pair embraced at the start of the twelfth in a show of respect, before trading leather in another close and captivating round.
Davis showed further respect to his rival after he was awarded a unanimous decision victory and preserved his undefeated record. The 27-year-old also revealed that he suffered a left hand injury and Mayweather Promotions CEO, Leonard Ellerbe told Fight Hub TV he was carrying the injury it into the fight.
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“He’s definitely a warrior,” Davis told SHOWTIME post-fight.
“I think that even though he didn’t get the win a star was born tonight.”
‘Tank’ dismissed the idea of a rematch and his record of 16 consecutive stoppage wins came to an end. The 27-year-old is one of three belt holders at 135lbs, with George Kambosos Jr, who was ringside holding the WBA ‘super’, WBO, IBF and WBC ‘franchise’ titles, following his stunning win over Teofimo Lopez last month. Devin Haney successfully defended his WBC crown on Saturday with victory over Joseph Diaz Jr in Las Vegas.
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Asked who he’d like to face, he added: “They’re easy work, I’m the top dog.”
Cruz is unlikely to receive a rematch, but after a valiant effort is almost certain of securing another big-name fight, although he admitted he would be open to running it back with ‘Tank’.
“If the fans want another fight, a rematch, I want it,” ‘Pitbull’ told SHOWTIME post-fight.
Sebastian Fundora handed Sergio Garcia a first professional defeat in their WBC super welterweight title eliminator.
Fundora prevailed with scores of 115-113, 118-110 and 117-111 to edge closer to a shot at Jermell Charlo’s belt.
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) December 6, 2021
Former world title challenger, Sergiy Derevyanchenko suffered a third straight defeat losing to Carlos Adames after a gruelling middleweight clash.
Derevyanchenko fell short against Gennady Golovkin and Jermall Charlo in his last two fights and suffered a setback in his quest for another world title opportunity, edged out by majority decision to Adames, who secured his third successive win since his only career loss to Patrick Teixeira.
Scores of 96-94 and 97-93 overruled a drawn 95-95 verdict.
— SHOWTIME SPORTS (@SHOsports) December 6, 2021
Eduardo Ramirez dropped Miguel Marriaga on route to a unanimous decision win in their crossroads super featherweight clash.
In a battle of former world title challengers, Ramirez found the crucial breakthrough in the third round and ran out a comfortable winner with three scores of 99-90.
Vaughn Alexander edged out Luis Arias by split decision in their middleweight showdown.
Two scores of 96-93, overruled a 96-93 verdict in favour of Arias.
Jalil Major Hackett made it three straight professional wins with a four round unanimous decision over Darynn Levya, whilst Malik Warren marched to six consecutive victories with a unanimous decision over Eric Manriquez.
Carlos Garcon and Jason Soto were held to a split decision draw at heavyweight, whilst in the two female bouts on the card, Mia Ellis overcame Elizabeth Tuani at super featherweight and bantamweight, Ava Knight beat Nancy Franco de Alba, with both fights won by unanimous decision.