Gervonta Davis (/dʒərˈvɒnteɪ/ jər-VON-tay; born November 7, 1994) is an American professional boxer. He is a three-time world champion, and in two weight classes, having held the WBA (Regular) lightweight title since 2019, and previously the IBF super featherweight title in 2017 and the WBA (Super) super featherweight title from 2018 to 2019.
As of February 2020, Davis is ranked as the world's second best active super featherweight by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (TBRB), as well as the third best active lightweight by BoxRec and tenth by the TBRB. His knockout-to-win ratio stands at 95.5%.
Early life and amateur career
Davis has been training at Upton Boxing Center since he was five years old. Davis is trained by Calvin Ford who was the inspiration for the character Dennis "Cutty" Wise on the hit HBO television series, The Wire. Davis had a very successful amateur career, winning many national championships. He won the 2012 National Golden Gloves Championship, three straight National Silver Gloves Championships from 2006–2008, two National Junior Olympics gold medals, two National Police Athletic League Championships, and two Ringside World Championships, among others. Davis finished his illustrious amateur career with an impressive record of 206–15.
Davis originally hails from the Sandtown-Winchester community in West Baltimore, which is one of the most crime-ridden areas of the city. He attended Digital Harbor High School, a local magnet school, but dropped out to focus on his career. He later earned his secondary degree through a GED program.
Davis made his debut at the age of 18 on February 22, 2013 against Desi Williams, who had a professional record of no wins and 4 losses, all by stoppage. The fight took place at the D.C. Armory in Washington on the undercard of IBF junior welterweight fight between Lamont Peterson and Kendall Holt. Davis won the bout via first-round knockout (KO). By August 2014, Davis had recorded 8 wins and no losses, with all wins coming inside the distance. Davis was taken the six-round distance for the first time in October 2014 against veteran 28 year old German Meraz (47–31–1, 25 KOs). Davis knocked Meraz down in rounds three and five, and went on to win a unanimous decision (UD), winning all three judges scoring the bout 60–52.
On February 20, 2015 at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Davis became the first person to stop Israel Suarez (4–4–2, 1 KO), winning in devastating fashion with a first-round KO.
On May 22, 2015 at The Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Davis scored a technical knockout (TKO) against Alberto Mora (5–3, 1 KO) at 1 minute 14 seconds into the fight. The normally durable Mora was stopped for the first time in his career. On September 12, 2015 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Showtime as part of the Floyd Mayweather vs. Andre Berto undercard, Davis defeated Recky Dulay (8–1, 5 KOs) in only 94 seconds. On October 30, 2015 at The Venue at UCF in Orlando, Florida on Bounce TV, Davis defeated former featherweight world titleholder Cristobal Cruz (40–18–4, 24 KOs).
On December 18, 2015 at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas on Spike TV, Davis scored a ninth-round KO over Luis Sanchez (17–4–1, 5 KOs). On April 1, 2016 at the D.C. Armory on Spike TV, Davis defeated Guillermo Avila (16–5, 13 KOs) by KO in the sixth round. On June 3, 2016 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida as part of a Premier Boxing Champions card, Davis knocked out Mario Antonio Macias (28–18, 14 KOs) with his first punch of the fight, which lasted only 41 seconds.
IBF super featherweight champion
Davis vs. Pedraza
On November 15, 2016 ESPN announced that Davis would challenge for the IBF super featherweight title against undefeated José Pedraza (22–0, 12 KOs) on January 14, 2017 at the Barclays Center in New York on Showtime. The fight would take place as an undercard fight to the super middleweight world title unification fight between James Degale and Badou Jack. The IBF granted Pedraza an exemption to fight Davis, as he had a mandatory fight against Liam Walsh looming. Prior to the fight being announced, Mayweather Promotions matchmakers tried to make a deal for Davis to fight titleholder Jason Sosa. Davis defeated Pedraza in a seventh-round KO to win the IBF super featherweight title. After the fight, Davis said that he had studied the early career of his promoter and mentor, Floyd Mayweather Jr., in order to stay composed. He said, "I had a lot of experience [from the amateur ranks], but I learned how to keep my composure. Floyd told me to stay calm, and I studied Floyd Mayweather [videos] when he was 'Pretty Boy.' My uppercut was my best shot, and it was landing all night. It felt really good to fight the way I did. I could take it and dish it out." Mayweather Jr. himself enthusiastically branded his protégé as the future of boxing. For the fight, Davis earned $75,000 compared to Pedraza, who earned the lions share of $225,000, in what was his third defence. At the time of stoppage, Davis was ahead 59–55 on all three judges' scorecards.
Davis vs. Walsh
On May 7, 2017 it was announced Davis would travel to London, England for his first title defence. The news came from Frank Warren, promoter of challenger Liam Walsh (21–0, 14 KO), who was also ranked number 1 by the IBF. The fight was scheduled to take place on May 20, 2017 and billed as 'Show me the Money'. At the official weigh in on May 19, Davis made weight on his third attempt. His first attempt, although he was naked, he weighed two ounces over. He was then given two hours to attempt to lose the extra weight, although he came back earlier thinking he had lost it. He eventually met the limit of 130 pounds on his third attempt. Davis stopped Walsh in the third-round to retain his IBF title. After two cagey rounds, which were controlled by Davis, he came out with power punches at the start of the third. Walsh's legs looked to give way and Davis pounced with accurate hooks to the head, eventually dropping Walsh. Walsh beat the count on unsteady legs. The fight resumed and Davis went on the attack again, connecting with every shot he threw, forcing referee Michael Alexander to stop the fight. The time of stoppage was 2 minutes and 11 seconds of round three. Many at ringside believed the stoppage was premature, including Walsh, "That was a bad stoppage. He's very fast and very active but it was too quick. He won fair and square but in England sometimes they stop the fight too early." Davis believed he would have caught Walsh eventually. The fight was shown live on Showtime in the U.S. averaging 228,000 viewers and peaking at 253,000 viewers.
Davis vs. Fonseca
According to TMZ Sports in early July 2017, it was reported that Davis would feature in the co-main event of Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor on August 26, 2017 at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada. On July 29, The Ring magazine reported that Davis would likely defend his IBF title against former WBO champion Román Martínez, whose last fight was a KO loss to Vasyl Lomachenko in June 2016. On August 10, Ringtv reported that Davis would instead fight unbeaten prospect Francisco Fonseca (19–0–1, 13 KOs), who at the time was ranked number 7 by the IBF. According to some sources, the potential fight with Martínez was dropped due to notice and Martínez would not have had enough time to make the 130 pound limit. Prior to the fight being announced, the IBF had ordered Fonseca to fight their number 3 ranked Billy Dib (42–4, 24 KOs) in a final eliminator, as they were the two highest ranked available. At the weigh in, Fonseca came in at the 130 pound limit. Davis showed up an hour late and came in at 132 pounds, 2 pounds over the weight limit. Davis declined to weigh in after two hours, forcing the IBF to strip him of the title. The title was declared vacant, but the title would be still up for grabs if Fonseca secured victory. In what was billed as an easy fight for Davis, he won the fight via KO in round eight, with the ending being controversial. The final punch appeared to be an illegal punch to the back of the head to Fonseca and referee Russell Mora counted him out 39 seconds into the round. After the fight, Davis mocked Fonseca. Fonseca appeared hurt before the knockout blow, which Davis, who was being booed by the crowd, explained to Jim Gray of Showtime in the post fight interview, "I actually caught him with a body shot before that and he was hurt. So he took advantage of me hitting him in the back of his head and went down." With the win, Davis scored his tenth straight KO victory. Due to Davis winning the fight, the IBF title remained vacant. For the fight, Davis earned a purse of $600,000 compared to the amount $35,000 that Fonseca received.
WBA (Super) super featherweight champion
Davis vs. Cuellar
On November 15, 2017 Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions announced that Davis would be making his in ring return in the first quarter of 2018 alongside stablemate Badou Jack. He also revealed that Davis would fight a high-level opponent. According to Ellerbe, Davis would remain at super featherweight and likely challenge for a world title in 2018. On January 24, 2018 Showtime announced that Davis would next appear on television on the undercard of Broner vs. Vargas on April 21 at the Barclays Center in New York. A day later, Ellerbe stated a deal was close to being reached for Davis to fight former world champion and IBF #3 Billy Dib (43–4, 24 KOs, 2 NC) in what would be an IBF eliminator. A purse bid, which was due to take place on January 25 was postponed to February 6. On February 21, it was reported by ESPN that the fight would not happen. Instead it was stated Davis' likely opponent would be former featherweight champion Jesús Cuellar (28–2, 21 KOs). On March 5, the fight was finalized for the vacant WBA (Regular) super featherweight title. Prior to the fight, Alberto Machado, the WBA (Super) champion at the same weight class, was inexplicably downgraded to 'Regular' champion, and the Davis-Cuellar fight was upgraded to be for Machado's WBA (Super) super featherweight title.
In front of 13,964 in attendance, Davis knocked out Cuellar in round three. Davis first knocked down Cuellar in round two courtesy of a left hook to the body and then put him down twice in round three to get the stoppage. Referee Benjy Esteves Jr. stopped the action at 2 minutes 45 seconds into the round. Davis landed 49% of his power shots in the fight. Both boxers earned $350,000 apiece. After the fight, Davis stated he wanted to unify with the winner of Tevin Farmer vs. Billy Dib, which would be contested for the IBF belt, the same belt Davis was stripped of. The bout opened Showtime's broadcast and averaged 460,000 viewers and peaked at 527,000 viewers.
Davis vs. Ruiz
In November 2018, Davis announced that he would defend his WBA title in February 2019 against former three-weight world champion Abner Mares (31–3–1, 15 KOs) in Southern California. The fight was first teased by Mayweather via social media in August 2018, with no mention of a date or venue. The fight would see Mares moving up from featherweight, having lost his last fight in June 2018 against Léo Santa Cruz. When the fight was announced, there was a lot of talk of Mares being 'thrown to the wolves' and that he had no real chance against Davis. Mares hit back at critics explaining it was his decision to move up in weight and test himself. On December 14, the fight was confirmed to take place on February 9, 2019 at the Pechanga Arena in San Diego on Showtime. A week later the venue was changed to Dignity Health Sports Park, in Carson, California, formerly known as StubHub Center.
Mares and Davis ultimately did not fight on the scheduled date after Mares suffered a potential career ending injury, a detached retina, during sparring. Instead Davis faced challenger Hugo Ruiz, knocking him out in the first round after breaking the challenger's nose.
Davis vs. Núñez
On July 27, 2019, Davis beat Núñez by TKO in the second round.
Outside of boxing
On September 19, 2017 an arrest warrant was issued for Davis, who was being accused of first-degree aggravated assault. According to Maryland court records, the alleged incident took place on August 1, 2017 but did not indicate who was involved or what happened. An amount of $100,000 unsecured bond was posted for Davis' release. Davis was due to appear in court on October 19. The charge was later changed to misdemeanor second-degree assault, which carries a maximum potential sentence of 10 years or a fine of $2,500 or both. At the court, Anthony Wheeler, a childhood friend, complained that Davis punched him on the side of the head with a 'gloved fist'. He then stated he was diagnosed with a concussion in hospital. The incident took place at the Upton Boxing Center in West Baltimore. It was said that Davis would stand trial on November 29, 2017. In court, the charges were dropped by Wheeler. The Baltimore Sun stated that Davis and Wheeler both embraced and walked out of the courtroom together.
On September 14, 2018 Davis was arrested in Washington D.C. According to a police report, he and another man started a fist fight. Punches were being landed around the upper body. It was said that some had tried to break up the fight and both men tried to flee before the police arrived.
On February 1, 2020 Davis was arrested on charges of simple battery/domestic violence against his former girlfriend. The incident occurred at the Watsco Center at the University of Miami during a basketball game where he was seen grabbing the woman's shirt "with his right hand close to her throat" and dragged her to a separate room.
Professional boxing record
|23 fights||23 wins||0 losses|
|23||Win||23–0||Yuriorkis Gamboa||TKO||12 (12), 1:17||Dec 28, 2019||State Farm Arena, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.||Won vacant WBA (Regular) lightweight title|
|22||Win||22–0||Ricardo Núñez||TKO||2 (12), 1:33||Jul 27, 2019||Royal Farms Arena, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.||Retained WBA (Super) super featherweight title|
|21||Win||21–0||Hugo Ruiz||KO||1 (12), 2:59||Feb 9, 2019||Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, California, U.S.||Retained WBA (Super) super featherweight title|
|20||Win||20–0||Jesús Cuellar||TKO||3 (12), 2:45||Apr 21, 2018||Barclays Center, New York City, New York, U.S.||Won vacant WBA (Super) super featherweight title|
|19||Win||19–0||Francisco Fonseca||KO||8 (12), 0:39||Aug 26, 2017||T-Mobile Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|18||Win||18–0||Liam Walsh||TKO||3 (12), 2:11||May 20, 2017||Copper Box Arena, London, England||Retained IBF super featherweight title|
|17||Win||17–0||José Pedraza||TKO||7 (12), 2:36||Jan 14, 2017||Barclays Center, New York City, New York, U.S.||Won IBF super featherweight title|
|16||Win||16–0||Mario Antonio Macias||KO||1 (8), 0:41||Jun 3, 2016||Hard Rock Live, Hollywood, Florida, U.S.|
|15||Win||15–0||Guillermo Avila||TKO||6 (10), 0:29||Apr 1, 2016||D.C. Armory, Washington, D.C., U.S.|
|14||Win||14–0||Luis Sanchez||KO||9 (10), 2:05||Dec 18, 2015||Pearl Concert Theater, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|13||Win||13–0||Cristóbal Cruz||TKO||3 (8), 1:31||Oct 30, 2015||The Venue at UCF, Orlando, Florida, U.S.|
|12||Win||12–0||Recky Dulay||TKO||1 (6), 1:34||Sep 12, 2015||MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|11||Win||11–0||Alberto Mora||TKO||1 (8), 1:14||May 22, 2015||The Claridge Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.|
|10||Win||10–0||Israel Suarez||KO||1 (6), 0:47||Feb 20, 2015||Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|9||Win||9–0||Germán Meraz||UD||6||Oct 8, 2014||Beau Rivage, Biloxi, Mississippi, U.S.|
|8||Win||8–0||Hector Lopez||KO||1 (4), 1:16||Aug 1, 2014||Little Creek Casino Resort, Shelton, Washington, U.S.|
|7||Win||7–0||Joshua Arocho||RTD||2 (4), 3:00||May 16, 2014||Foxwoods Resort Casino, Ledyard, Connecticut, U.S.|
|6||Win||6–0||James Franks||TKO||2 (6), 2:29||Dec 14, 2013||Convention Center, Washington, D.C., U.S.|
|5||Win||5–0||Eric Jamar Goodall||TKO||4 (4), 1:55||Oct 17, 2013||ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|4||Win||4–0||Rafael Casias||TKO||2 (6), 2:26||Jul 20, 2013||Physical Education Complex, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.|
|3||Win||3–0||Jonathan Gears||KO||1 (4), 1:36||Jun 8, 2013||Echostage, Washington, D.C., U.S.|
|2||Win||2–0||Jacob Ninow||TKO||2 (4), 2:04||Apr 20, 2013||The Show Place Arena, Upper Marlboro, Maryland, U.S.|
|1||Win||1–0||Desi Williams||KO||1 (4), 1:29||Feb 22, 2013||D.C. Armory, Washington, D.C., U.S.|