Boxing’s hottest attraction Gervonta “Tank” Davis kicked off fight week working out in front of the Atlanta media and eager boxing fans at a public workout at the Atlanta Sports Complex on Monday night.
Baltimore’s two-time Super Featherweight world champion Davis will take on former unified world champion Yuriorkis Gamboa, an Olympic gold medalist from Cuba, for the vacant WBA Lightweight Title Saturday, December 28 live on SHOWTIME from the award-winning State Farm Arena in Atlanta in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
The special holiday SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Jean Pascal battling two-division champion Badou Jack in the co-main event. Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, GTD Promotions and TGB Promotions, are on sale and available through Ticketmaster.com. Good tickets are still available. All tickets start at $54 and $104.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING COUNTDOWN begins live at 6:45 p.m. ET/3:45 p.m. PT on the SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel and SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page featuring a digital live stream offering with undefeated rising prospect Malik Hawkins facing off against unbeaten Darwin Price in a 10-round super lightweight fight. In the other streamed bout undefeated Angelo Leo squares off against Cesar Juarez in an IBF Super Bantamweight Title Eliminator.
Here is what Davis and the principals had to say on Monday night at Atlanta Sports Complex.
“This is like my second home and it feels amazing to be here and fighting for my third time this year. I’m just excited to put on a great performance on Saturday night.
“I’m overwhelmed by all the support and the fans who came out tonight. But I still have to get the job done. All I’m worried about is getting the ‘W’. Each fight, I’m breaking records, which are meant to be broken, and Saturday night at State Farm Arena the fans will be the real winners.
“My skill set suits a fighter like Gamboa. My mindset right now is just so focused. I know exactly what I have to do in there on Saturday night. I’m a more mature and focused fighter.
“I have a great team around me. Calvin is like a father to me and he’s watched me develop as a fighter and he believes this fight will bring the best out of me.
“Gamboa’s a great fighter. The experience in the ring, I have it too. So it’s going to make for an exciting matchup and one the fans won’t want to miss. I’m must-see TV.
“I think it’s a mistake that [Gamboa] didn’t watch my last fight in July. Saturday night we’ll see just how much he’s been studying me.”
CALVIN FORD, Davis’ Trainer
“We are prepared for anything that [Yuriorkis] Gamboa brings us. If he wants to brawl, we’ll brawl. If he stays in there close, we’ll stay close. Whatever he dictates, we will adjust to. That is the game plan.
“Atlanta boxing fans have waited a long time for this. It’s going to be a great night of boxing in Atlanta.”
“It feels great. I’ve always wanted to fight here in Atlanta. Even as an amateur, I wanted to fight here, but I didn’t. Sad to say, but now, fighting here in Atlanta, it’s a dream come true. Fighting on my brother’s Gervonta Davis’ undercard is wonderful.
“I’m bringing everything. I’ve got the total package.
“It feels great. This is the team I started with when I first started boxing. They’ve been with me since then, and aren’t going anywhere. This is a lifetime contract.”
LEONARD ELLERBE, CEO of Mayweather Promotions
“Saturday night is going to be huge for the city of Atlanta. It’s going to be a spectacle. This is something that this great city needs, something that this city has been waiting for for quite some time. And what better opportunity to bring the hottest fighter in the sport to this great city?
“I expect Gervonta to put on a terrific performance. I expect it to be a great fight. He’s fighting a guy who is going to bring it, who has nothing to lose. He has nothing to lose and he’s coming to be champion of the world. That’s Gamboa’s mindset. He asked for this fight. My knowledge is that he reached out two years ago, he wanted to fight ‘Tank.’
“This city is buzzing, it’s a tremendous buzz. We have limited tickets available, and are expecting a sellout. The city has embraced it, and again this is great for our culture. It’s great to see the city have something to look forward to. It’s a great sporting event. You will see a number of people from all walks of life in the building Saturday night. It’s just really exciting and there’s a tremendous buzz. It’s terrific.”
“This event is a great way to top off the holiday season and 2019,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. ”We’re looking forward to lighting up the city of Atlanta with a spectacle headlined by the most exciting fighter in boxing, Gervonta Davis taking on a seasoned and fearless warrior, Yuriorkis Gamboa. Gervonta spends a lot of time in Atlanta and he wanted to bring his talents to his second home where he plans to put on yet another electrifying performance. We also have Badou Jack who’s ready to get back in the ring after some time off. He has an opportunity before him to be back on the big stage and become champion for the third time. I’m confident that Jack is ready to get back in the mix and he will come ready to go to war against Jean Pascal come fight night. December 28 is going to be lit in the city of Atlanta!”
“Each time Gervonta Davis steps in the ring he proves worthy of the considerable hype around him,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports and Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc. “On the heels of two electric performances in 2019, he’ll close out the year in a new division and look to further define the Tank Davis mystique. Yuriorkis Gamboa presents a challenge unlike anything Gervonta has faced before: a pure boxer with true finishing power and bona fide credentials. And the co-feature, Jean Pascal vs. Badou Jack, is a 50-50 fight between two proven veterans that is sure to deliver on both skill and intensity. We are proud to deliver this unique, holiday event from Atlanta, a city that is long overdue for a marquee world championship boxing event like this one.”
Davis (22-0, 21 KOs) burst onto the scene with an explosive knockout victory over Jose Pedraza to win the IBF super featherweight title in a star-making performance on January 2017. At the time he became the youngest world champion in boxing at age 22. In the ring, Davis blends controlled aggression with blazing hand and foot speed, eye-catching power and sublime boxing skills. It’s a winning combination that has kept the southpaw unbeaten and given him a 95.5 percent knockout ratio, making him a fan favorite on the threshold of superstardom.
A 24-year-old native of Baltimore, Davis thrilled his hometown with a masterful performance against Ricardo Nunez in his last fight on July 27. The sold out crowd at Royal Farms Arena witnessed Davis score a spectacular second round knockout of Nunez to defend his WBA Super Featherweight title and become the first world champion from Baltimore to make a homecoming defense in nearly 80 years. December 28 will be Davis’ third consecutive headlining appearance of 2019. Under the guidance of Mayweather Promotions, Davis will look to further improve his impressive portfolio with a title at lightweight.
“I’m excited to head south for the holiday season and put on a great show for the city of Atlanta on December 28,” said Davis. “It’s been a long time since a boxing fight of this magnitude has come to the city and I’m proud to be able to give lots of excitement to a city where I’ve spent a lot of my time.
“Some of the greatest boxers in the Hall of Fame have won titles in multiple weight divisions and I’m no different. I expect as much success at 135 pounds as I had at 130 pounds. Yuriorkis Gamboa is a respected name in boxing and has achieved high levels of success in both the Olympics and as a professional. I expect him to bring out the best in me and l will be ready for it. I’m thankful to my whole team for making this happen. To all my fans, continue to support me and I’ll fight for you.”
Gamboa (30-2, 18 KOs) is riding a resurgent wave in his career, which has been sparked by some recent displays of power. The 37-year-old, who is from Guantanamo, Cuba and now lives in Miami, has always been a cerebral boxer. But recently he has demonstrated the attitude and ability to be a finisher, dispatching his last opponent with a crowd-pleasing knockout. Gamboa is a former unified featherweight champion, holding the IBF and WBA 126-pound titles between 2009-2011. Since dropping just the second fight of his career against Robinson Castellano in 2017, Gamboa has won four in a row. He is coming off a knockout victory over Roman Martinez as the co-main event to Davis’ Baltimore homecoming in July, setting up a tantalizing showdown between the two for a lightweight championship.
“I am blessed to have this amazing opportunity to become world champion once again,” said Gamboa. “I have been hoping that this opportunity would be against Gervonta Davis as well. I love and embrace the role of underdog that I have in this match because it will be the ultimate motivator. For the first time in my career, I will be involved in a high profile bout in which I am not coming in at a disadvantage. Gervonta is an excellent fighter, but he has yet to face anyone like me. All the sacrifices I have made in my career and my life – leaving Cuba and coming to this country to find a better life for my family – will finally payoff on December 28.”
Pascal (34-6-1, 20 KOs) most recently captured his interim title by giving Marcus Browne the first defeat of his professional career. Pascal scored four knockdowns in the fight, eventually earning a narrow technical decision when a cut suffered by Browne on an accidental head butt stopped the fight after eight rounds. The 36-year-old has been in the ring with the top fighters of his era during his brilliant career, including Bernard Hopkins, Sergey Kovalev, Carl Froch, Lucian Bute and Chad Dawson. Pascal, who was born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti and now lives in Laval, Quebec, Canada, won first the light heavyweight world title with a unanimous decision over Adrian Diaconu in 2009.
“After I took this belt from Marcus Browne I asked my team to get me back in the ring before the end of the year and they delivered,” said Pascal. “This is going to be a fight you don’t want to miss. Everybody knows I come to fight, I’m a warrior and it’s the same thing for Badou. We both have proven to be boxers that want to fight the best in the world. Now we’re fighting each other, so you know it’s going to be fireworks.
“I’m training super hard for this fight because I know he’s coming to try to take my belts, but I’ve gone through way too much to become a two-time champion, so my belts aren’t going anywhere.”
Jack (22-2-3, 13 KOs) will fight for the interim title that Marcus Browne won in January by defeating him in a fight that saw Jack battle through a nasty cut on his forehead. Jack will return to action in his fourth fight at light heavyweight after relinquishing his super middleweight world title. Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Jack represented his father’s Gambia in the 2008 Olympics and now lives in Las Vegas. Jack won the 168-pound world title with a majority decision against Anthony Dirrell in 2015 and successfully defended the belt three times before a hard-fought majority draw against James DeGale in one 2017’s best fights. In his first bout at 175 pounds, Jack stopped Nathan Cleverly to pick up the WBA light heavyweight title before fighting to a majority draw against then WBC champion Adonis Stevenson in May 2018.
“It feels great to be back and I’m looking forward to putting on another exciting performance,” says Jack. “I always fight to make sure my family lives a comfortable lifestyle and to secure my legacy, but I’m just as motivated to represent and fight for children across the globe that my foundation helps.
“Expect to see me stronger, smarter and more experienced on December 28. I’m looking forward to getting my belts back and becoming a three-time world champion. I respect Pascal and consider him a friend, but business is business.”
Here is what Gamboa and his assistant trainer had to say Wednesday from Roque Boxing Gym in Miami:
“I feel great that that I have this opportunity to prove in the ring what I can do. This is a fight that can get me back to the very top of the sport.
“After I signed my contract and I beat Roman Martinez in July there were a number of names that came up as possible opponents that I could face in my second fight. One name that came up was Davis, so I took the challenge.
“Obviously I have a huge edge in experience and I think the quality of opponents I’ve faced, versus his opponents, gives me another edge. Plus, the preparation I put into this fight. I really don’t see anyone outworking me. The work that I put into this fight gives me a big advantage.
“What power does he have that I haven’t faced? Without question this is going to be a great fight. There are going to be great moments of battle and a war, but at the same time, a lot of intelligence will be shown in the ring. So it’s a formula for a great fight and I think the fans are going to be pleased.
“I didn’t see Gervonta’s last fight on July 27 (the same night Gamboa fought last). I didn’t care to watch. I went to my dressing room, I waited to get paid, and then I went to my hotel. I didn’t bother to watch it.”
STACY MCKINLEY, Gamboa’s Assistant Trainer
“We know ‘Tank’ is a big puncher, but experience is going to take its course. He’s never been past the sixth round before. And his trainer has never been past the sixth round before. So when you start talking about round eight, round nine, round 10, round 12, you’re in new territory.
“It’s like Sugar Ray Leonard told Tommy Hearns: ‘I’m going to take you out to deep water, and I’m going to drown you.’ So this is what we expect to do, take him into deep water and drown him.
“Gamboa is very versatile. You’ve got to watch him real close. I’ve watched him real close and I’ve seen him thrown punches that most fighters can’t throw. I see technique and I see the change up in the ring. The last few weeks we’ve changed things up and are using different techniques. He’s a great Cuban fighter.
“He jumped up two weight classes (to fight Terence Crawford). Terence Crawford is a big guy. You’ve got a guy like Terence Crawford who says (Gamboa) can punch, then you have to take his word as gospel. What makes (Gamboa) a good puncher is that he knows how to create his shots. He knows where to hit you and he doesn’t waste punches. So you get him in the right spot and hit the pressure points, then it’s a lot different than just getting hit anywhere and it’s more devastating.
“‘Tank’ is a young man. Don’t underestimate him. He’s a good fighter and a dangerous fighter. He needs to be a little more disciplined. I saw something on the Internet the other night where he was out on a date. He’s needs to be training and not out on a date. He’s saying he’s walking around at 180, 185 pounds. You’re in a fight right there if you’ve got eight weeks to take that weight off. It’s going to play a part against him down the road.”
Two-division world champion Badou Jack showed off his skills and previewed his upcoming title fight at a Las Vegas media workout Tuesday as he prepares to take on WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Jean Pascal Saturday, December 28 live on SHOWTIME from the award-winning State Farm Arena in Atlanta in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and is headlined by boxing’s hottest attraction Gervonta “Tank” Davis as he takes on former unified world champion Yuriorkis Gamboa for the WBA Lightweight Title.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, GTD Promotions and TGB Promotions, are on sale and available through Ticketmaster.com.
Jack hit the ring and talked to media at Mayweather Boxing Club as he prepares to face Pascal in a bid to become a three-time champion and capture his second title at light heavyweight. Here is what the workout participants had to say Tuesday:
“Mentally I’m better than I’ve ever been. I’m hungrier and I feel like I did the first time I fought for the title. I’m always hungry, but I’m really excited for this fight.
“Sometimes losses make you better. My first loss was an accident, and I became better because of it. The loss to Marcus Browne, it wasn’t the fairest loss, but it’s made me even hungrier. I’m going to go out there and win the fight no matter what.
“People have written Pascal off a couple of times and he always came back. He’s a throwback fighter who definitely knows how to fight. He brings it every time. He’s got more mileage than me, but I can’t overlook a guy like him.
“I’m ready to do whatever it takes to win the fight. I feel 100% physically. The cut was cleared in March, and we’re way past that. I’ve been ready physically and this camp has proved that to me and my whole team.
“Pascal and I sparred before but it was a long time ago and sparring is way different than a real fight. I’ve fought bigger punchers, but you have to respect the power of anyone in the ring. Anything can happen. You can get caught by someone who’s not a puncher.
“I know that I have a lot left to give this sport. I feel like I’m young for my age. The break between fights and bouncing back from a loss have made me more motivated than ever. I’m ready to go in and give the best performance of my career.”
LEONARD ELLERBE, CEO of Mayweather Promotions
“Badou has a glow about him, just like the old Badou. He looks super-fast in the ring and everything is what we would want to see.
“Badou Jack has shown time and time again that he wants to fight the best and he’s not going to back down no matter what the challenge is. We’ve never had to think twice about it and one setback wasn’t going to stop him from having that mentality.
“Badou is a fighter who always uses his platform to make the world better for those less fortunate. He’s done wonderful things and is really so much more than a champion boxer. It’s an honor to work with him and always a pleasure to watch him perform.”