IBF Junior Lightweight World Champion Gervonta Davis, undefeated No. 1 contender Liam Walsh and promoter Floyd Mayweather got into a jarring session during Thursday’s final press conference at Landmark Hotel in London just two days before Saturday’s world title clash on SHOWTIME from Copper Box Arena.
Baltimore’s “Tank” Davis, America’s youngest world champion, will attempt to become the first American to successfully defend his title on British soil in nearly a decade*, while Walsh (21-0, 14 KOs) aims to dethrone the man that Mayweather has christened the “future of boxing.” (*Note: Paulie Malignaggi vs. Lovemore Ndou in 2008)
Davis vs. Walsh is part of a split-site, four-fight SHOWTME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast that begins on Saturday, May 20, at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT. In the main event, Gary Russell Jr. will make his second featherweight title defense and long-awaited homecoming against mandatory challenger Oscar Escandon live from MGM National Harbor just outside of Washington, D.C.
The 22-year-old Davis, who has won by knockout in 16 of his 17 professional fights, will make the first defense of the IBF belt to won via KO over previously unbeaten Jose Pedraza in January. The 30-year-old Walsh has won by knockout in three of his last four bouts and will be a decided local favorite at an expected sold-out Copper Box Arena.
The pound-for-pound great turned promoter Mayweather and Walsh’s two brothers, fellow professional fighters Michael and Ryan, led the jarring during Thursday’s festivities with Mayweather claiming “I’m 40 years old and I’ll kick all three of your asses in the same night.”
Team Walsh was “not intimidated one little bit” by Mayweather or Tank, while the southpaw Davis promised “On Saturday night you’ll be on your ass. And then your brothers can get in next.”
Below are highlights of what the participants had to say on Thursday:
“I’m just on a whole different level. I do know they built you good, but you’ve been dropped before. They’ve been protecting you from the power, so I know you have no chin. On Saturday night you’ll be on your ass. And then your brothers can get in next.
“Please don’t run Saturday night.
“I’ve just been trying to stay level-headed. Getting that belt brings me that much closer to what I want to do – to take over the sport of boxing. With the performance I put on Saturday night it will bring me a step closer to being the star of boxing and follow after Floyd Mayweather.
“Having Floyd in my corner gives me a lot of confidence. Floyd has been pretty hands on with me, he’s been getting up and training and running with me. He was my hero in the sport of boxing coming up so to just have him in my corner now is amazing.
“I won the belt and now my focus is to take over the sport.
“Growing up in Baltimore, it has a high crime rate. It’s been tough. Where I’m from the gym is in the hood. If it wasn’t for the gym I’d either be in jail or dead. That’s not what I want to be. Boxing saved my life.”
“I’m always confident. As I’ve said many times, his performance against Pedraza was very good. I applaud him. Tank is the best fighter I’ve come up against in my career so far, but I’m also the best fighter he’s going to come against in his career so far. So it makes for a great fight.
“He’s physically very good. He’s very fast, very powerful. He’s a good puncher and performed beyond his years against Pedraza. You can’t knock his performance whatsoever, but there’s still a lot of questions that he has to answer.
“The southpaw stance doesn’t affect me too much. I can switch between the two. I’m comfortable in both stances so that doesn’t bother me.
“I don’t think I can put it into words what it would mean to win the title. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little child. The feeling, the emotion, I can’t put it into words. This is the biggest night of my life.
“There are definitely flaws in his game and they’re there for me to exploit. I plan to take advantage of his mistakes. When I was 22, there were definitely mistakes I made that I wouldn’t make now. So maybe it’s the perfect time to fight him.
“I’m not intimidated one little bit. Not by Floyd, not by Tank, not by anyone.
“I predict I will win the fight. I wouldn’t be shocked if I won by knockout, I wouldn’t be shocked if I won on points. You won’t see me celebrating like a mad man if I knock out Tank because I know I’m capable of it.”
“It’s not just one performance. It takes more than just one performance. We truly believe that he can be a great fighter, but he came in his last fight with only 16 fights and beat the champion. We know he’s not going to lay down. This kid has dynamite in both hands. If he keeps going out there beating great fighters he cannot be denied.
“When its lights, camera, action and the bell rings, 17 times he came out victorious and 16 by way of (knockout).
“His team does a remarkable job, but it’s my job as a friend and a father figure to tell him to come to Vegas to get him the best work. We wanted him to have different looks. We want guys that were going to push him, give him different styles.
“This kid, he busts his ass day in and day out. We’re going to continue to go out there and do what we do.
“I already conquered your country once (with Ricky Hatton) and now we’re going to conquer it again on Saturday.
“I don’t miss being in the gym at all. If I can push this fighter to surpass me and break every record, that’s a goal of mine. That’s what we’re here to do. Records are made to be broken.
“I remember when I met Tank on the Canelo (Alvarez) press tour and he asked to take a photo with me. When I took a photo with him I said, ‘there’s something about that kid that looks special.’
“He came to my gym and put in some real good work and I reached out to him and said, ‘whatever it takes to work with you and get you to the next level, let’s make it happen.’ I told him, ‘if you listen to me and continue to work hard I truly believe you can be world champion within 24 months.’ And that’s just one stepping stone. As of right now he’s one of the only fighters in boxing facing back-to-back undefeated fighters.
“Frank Warren, Liam Walsh, we just want to commend you guys for stepping up to the plate and making this fight happen and giving the fans what they want to see. The fans want to see blood, sweat and tears.
“Tank is always in tremendous fights, he’s a big knockout artist. I truly believe in my man, and I want to work with him until the end of his career.”
Floyd Mayweather protégé Gervonta Davis says he wants to become boxing’s next superstar but must first get past Cromer’s Liam Walsh
The 22-year-old from the mean streets of Baltimore will make the first defence of his IBF super-featherweight world title when he steps into a British ring for the first time to take on the undefeated Walsh, live this Saturday night on BoxNation.
In his dazzling stoppage win over Jose Pedraza earlier this year to win his world title, ‘Tank’ as Davis is nicknamed, showcased all the tools needed to reach the very pinnacle of the sport and sees Walsh as just another step towards reaching that goal.
“It’s been pretty good since winning the world title. I’m actually staying level headed, staying focused. Getting the world title is a step closer to where I want to be,” said Davis.
“Having a belt is cool, but I’m trying to do more in the sport. I want to be the next star of boxing. I want to do more in the sport. This is just one more step to me,” he said.
Preparing for his fight at the Copper Box Arena this weekend, Davis has been guided in the final part of his training camp by his promoter Mayweather, who has been sharing some words of wisdom with the 130-pounder.
“When I got back to Vegas, Floyd Mayweather was hands on more than usual, working with me in the gym late nights,” he said.
“I’ve been working extra hard. Having him back in the gym gives me that extra push and has my mind on another level.
“Having him in my corner makes me feel like I have that chance. I have one of the best in the business backing me. It means a lot. It makes me work harder,” Davis said.
30-year-old Walsh is no pushover himself and has stacked up 21 wins unbeaten, with 14 of those by knockout.
The Norfolk boxer is adamant that he will keep his unblemished record intact by handing Davis his very first loss.
“He certainly has potential and star quality – that was clear to see when he beat [Jose] Pedraza. But he has to come through me first,” said Walsh
“I don’t see any other way than me winning. If he’s going to be a star in the future, it’s going to have to be with a loss after fighting me,” he said.
Walsh is sceptical about the names on Davis’ record and believes he still has a lot of questions to answer.
“I don’t think he’s completely overrated, but I think there are still a lot of questions to be asked of him. He looked very good and brilliant against Pedraza. The only other reputable fighter on his record is Cristobal Cruz. There are a lot of question marks lingering on,” said Walsh.
“I feel like I’ve been in tougher fights than him. I feel like I’ve been in longer fights. I think I have a better boxing IQ than him. He’s very powerful, very physical and very fast, but we haven’t seen him in a long fight or a dog fight or a gruelling fight though.
“I will certainly ask all these questions. I’ll do it any which way that it has to go. I’m more than confident I’ll get the job done,” he said.
Following Davis v Walsh, BoxNation will then turn its attention across the Atlantic where pound-for-pound star Terence Crawford takes on the slick Felix Diaz, exclusively live from Madison Square Garden.
WBC and WBO super-lightweight world champion Crawford is very much the man to beat at 140-pounds but against the Dominican Republic’s Diaz he will need to be at the very top of his game if he hopes to continue his dominance of the division.
Diaz, a 2008 Olympic gold medallist and with just a solitary loss on his record, has been calling out 29-year-old Crawford for months, with the Nebraska native saying he will be ready for whatever comes his way.
“Come Saturday, I will be ready for whatever Felix Diaz brings to the ring that night,” said Crawford. “It’s going to be a great experience fighting at Madison Square Garden in the big arena where all the greats have fought. I’m looking forward to that night,” he said.
Davis v Walsh will be live from 7.30pm BST on BoxNation, followed by Crawford v Diaz from 2am BST.
Davis v Walsh & Crawford v Diaz is live on BoxNation this Saturday night. Sky customers can get free registration by using the offer code MAYBOXING. Buy now at boxnation.com.
Gervonta Davis and Liam Walsh participated in public workouts on Wednesday at the legendary York Hall in advance of this Saturday’s IBF Junior Lightweight World Championship on SHOWTIME from Copper Box Arena in London.
Baltimore’s Davis (17-0, 16 KOs) was joined in the ring during the workout by his promoter and mentor, all-time great Floyd Mayweather. Davis, who became America’s youngest reigning world champion in January, will make the first defense of his IBF belt on the road against undefeated No. 1 contender and local favorite Walsh (21-0, 14 KOs).
Davis vs. Walsh is the opening bout of a unique split-site, four-fight SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING event this Saturday that begins at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT on SHOWTIME. In the main event, Gary Russell Jr. will make the second defense of his WBC Featherweight World Championship against mandatory challenger Oscar Escandon from MGM National Harbor just outside of Washington, D.C.
Two world title eliminators will round out the quadrupleheader. Top super middleweight contenders Andre Dirrell (25-2, 16 KOs) and José Uzcátegui (26-1, 22 KOs) will face off in an IBF Super Middleweight Eliminator to determine the mandatory challenger for champion James DeGale. Undefeated Rances Barthelemy (25-0, 13 KOs) will meet Kiryl Relikh (21-1, 19 KOs) in a WBA Super Lightweight Eliminator for unified champ Julius Indongo
Walsh Obsessed With Dethroning Davis
Liam Walsh is so intent on taking the IBF world super-featherweight title from Gervonta Davis he left his wife in labour for a training camp.
Son Ryan was born last month, hours after leaving the family home in Cromer for a sparring trip to Wales. That meant it was several days before Walsh saw his latest arrival for the first time.
He hopes that sort of dedication will help defeat fast rising American star Davis at London’s Copper Box Arena on Saturday night.
Walsh unbeaten in 21 fights said: “I left my missus in labour a couple of weeks ago on a Thursday because I had to go to Wales for training.
“She gave birth the next day and I didn’t get to see Ryan until five days later. That is part of the sacrifices I have had to make for this fight.
“He is named after my twin brother and my other son after our eldest brother Michael.
“People think I’m mad, but my brothers mean everything to me. It’s the way we are. None of us actually own anything. Anything we have is ours. When I win this fight it will be for the family.”
There is a stack of hype surrounding Davis who is tipped to become the world’s pound-for-pound King by his promoter, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Davis landed in Britain earlier this week and ring great Mayweather Jr will be here for the fight, but Walsh is ready for any mind games they might play on him before fight night.
Walsh, who celebrates his 31st birthday on Thursday added: “I am prepared for anything he wants to do, but come weigh-in time I strictly advise him to stay at arms length.
“Were fighters first and foremost, but although I’m prepared for anything I am professional and will conduct myself in the right way.
“But you can only push me so far before you overstep the boundary.”
All floor seating at the Copper Box Arena has SOLD OUT.
Remaining tickets priced £40 and £50 are available from www.seetickets.com and www.ticketmaster.co.uk