Two-time super featherweight world champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis will make history on Saturday, July 27 when he becomes the first Baltimore native to make a homecoming defense in nearly 80 years.
Davis will defend his WBA Super Featherweight World Championship against mandatory challenger Ricardo “Científico” Núñez live on SHOWTIME from Royal Farms Arena in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
The last Baltimore-native to make a title defense in his hometown was Harry Jeffra, a featherweight world champion who defeated Spider Armstrong in July 1940 at Carlin’s Park to retain his belt
At 24-years-old Davis is America’s youngest reigning world champion and has proven he has the star power to put Baltimore on the map as a significant fight city. The first world champion from Baltimore was Joe Gans, who was also the first African-American world champion in boxing history when he won the lightweight title in 1902.
“I believe it’s time for me to fight in front of my hometown and thank them for supporting me,” Davis said. “I never thought a fight in Baltimore would be this big. It gives me chills, but I’m ready for it. It’s a big test. I’ve been gone for so long and coming home feels amazing.”
This will be just the second time that the power-punching southpaw has fought in his hometown since turning professional in 2013.
Davis vs. Núñez is the first world championship in Baltimore in nearly 50 years. Light heavyweight champion Bob Foster defeated Mark Tessman by knockout at the Baltimore Civic Center in June of 1970 and the city hasn’t hosted another world title fight since. The historic night will also be the first SHOWTIME boxing event held in Baltimore in the network’s 33-year history
Formerly called the Baltimore Arena and Baltimore Civic Center, Royal Farms Arena has hosted dozens of boxing events since it opened in 1962. One of boxing’s all-time greats, Hall of Famer Sugar Ray Leonard made his professional debut at the Baltimore Civic Center in 1977 and fought there six times during his illustrious career.
A number of notable world titlist have called Baltimore home but never fought in the Charm City, including Hall of Famer Dwight Qawi, former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman and former super welterweight champ Vincent Pettway.
“These guys from the past really motivate me, and I give much respect to the guys before me and the ones after me,” Davis said. “But right now I’m laying the foundation to make history. It’s the people that I see every day in Baltimore that motivate me. I can’t think about anybody that was in the past or the future. We are all worried about what’s in front of us right now.”
Photo: Mayweather Promotions
Baltimore-native and two-time super featherweight world champion Gervonta “Tank’ Davis greeted fans in his hometown Wednesday at an open to the public press conference at the Mondawmin Mall as he previewed his upcoming title defense against Ricardo Núñez Saturday, July 27 live on SHOWTIME from Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Maryland.
Davis, who was joined at Wednesday’s event by Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, returns to defend his title in front of a hometown crowd and will be the first world champion from Baltimore to make a homecoming defense in nearly 80 years. Davis will be making the second defense of his WBA Super Featherweight World Championship.
Here is what Davis had to say on Wednesday from the Mondawmin Mall Center Court in Baltimore:
“I want to thank the whole city of Baltimore for backing me,” Davis said. “Not just for this fight, but I believe that Baltimore’s been backing me for a long time. I used to come up to this mall a lot, and just to have a press conference here means a lot to me.
“I’m coming home to fight in front of my people. Everyone showed out in Brooklyn when I fought for my first world title, and they did it again the second time I won a title there. So I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a huge sold out event.
“I can’t wait to put on a great show for everybody in my city. I’m really grateful for the opportunity that I have and I’m going to take full advantage of it.
“I definitely feel like a role model whether I like it or not. I’m the main one that made it out of the gym, other than the people I came up with. The people I came up with are dead. They all got killed. The two people that I look up to in the gym, just got killed like two weeks ago. It’s overwhelming, but then again I’m strong and I hold my own and I’m staying strong.
“I never thought of me actually fighting in Baltimore city, fighting in a big arena like this. I’ve always watched it on TV, people coming back to their home town to fight. I’m the type of person that I always adapt to the place I’m in at the moment.
“I’m training every day. Twice a day. Even on Saturdays and Sundays. I’m working out trying to stay sharp. You have to work harder. There are so many people that are coming for you, I’ve always had that mindset that you’re going to have to kill me to beat me. I beat a lot of people mentally first and I’ve always been that type of person since I was young.
“I know that my opponent only lost twice and he’s got good power. I actually watched him running and sparing the other day too. He has good power and speed. Hopefully we will put on a great show July 27.
“I remember when Aquille Carr use to play basketball here they called him the ‘Crimestopper’ because it was like they shut down the whole city to watch him. You can call me the ‘Crimestopper’ July 27 because everyone’s going to be there.”