Eddie Hearn says Gary Russell Jr and Yuriorkis Gamboa are both targets for the return of WBC World Lightweight champion Devin Haney in November, live on DAZN.
Haney (24-0 15 KOs) is raring to return to the ring and defend his crown for the second time after he was forced into surgery when injuring his shoulder in his first defense against Alfredo Santiago in Los Angeles in November.
The 21 year old has fully recovered and November 7 is the date promoter Hearn has earmarked for ‘The Dream’ to display his talents for the first time in 2020, with Russell Jnr and Gamboa the two men vying to take on the Las Vegas star.
Haney and long reigning WBC World Featherweight champion Russell Jnr (31-1 18 KOs) have become embroiled in a war of words on social media over the potential clash, while Gamboa (30-3 18 KOs) is aiming for a third shot at becoming a two-weight World champion – and Hearn expects to name Haney’s foe next week.
“Devin has been doing a great job in keeping his profile active during lockdown but now it’s almost time for get busy in the ring,” said Hearn. “November 7 is the targeted date for his return and the two main targets are Gary Russell Jr and Yuriorkis Gamboa. Both are great fights for Devin as he approaches a key stretch in his career to become standout star.
“Devin is ready to defend his WBC titles against all comers and I can’t wait to see him back in the ring in November.”
When Gervonta Davis and Yuriorkis Gamboa clash for the vacant WBA Lightweight World Championship on December 28 at the award-winning State Farm Arena in Atlanta, they’ll be making history in a long-underserved boxing hotbed that has hosted monumental fights featuring Hall of Famers Muhammad Ali and Evander Holyfield.
“Just to be mentioned with those Hall of Famers is amazing,” said Davis. “I’m lost for words. It’s not only big for me, it’s big for boxing in the city and all the other fighters that have the opportunity to fight on the card.”
The Davis vs. Gamboa SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast features two world title bouts and will be the first world championship event in Atlanta in more than 20 years. Jean Pascal will defend his WBA Light Heavyweight World Championship against former two-division champion Badou Jack in the co-feature of the Premier Boxing Champions event.
Prior to December 28, the last world title fight in Atlanta was unified heavyweight world champion Evander Holyfield’s IBF and WBA defenses against Vaughn Bean on September 19, 1998. SHOWTIME televised that bout live from the since-demolished Georgia Dome where 41,357 fans in attendance saw the Atlanta resident floor Bean in the 10th round en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Despite the strong turnout and festive atmosphere for Holyfield vs. Bean, the Hall of Famer Holyfield fought just four times in Atlanta in his 57 professional bouts spanning nearly three decades. The city did host Holyfield’s first title fight, a bout that is widely considered the best cruiserweight fight in history and one of the last great 15 round fights. On July 12, 1986, Holyfield challenged WBA Cruiserweight Champion Dwight Muhammad Qawi in a back-and-forth bout that Holyfield won by split decision to capture his first world title.
While Holyfield vs. Qawi is considered the best fight in Atlanta boxing history, the most significant and biggest event in the city was Muhammad Ali’s comeback fight in 1970. Ali had been stripped of his heavyweight title and exiled from boxing after being controversially convicted of draft evasion in 1967. While his case was still under appeal in the U.S. Supreme Court, Ali received a license to fight in Georgia for his first bout in more than three-and-a-half years. Ali stopped Jerry Quarry in the third round on October 26, 1970 at City Auditorium in an event that would mark his triumphant return. Ali’s conviction was overturned the following year in June of 1971, just three months after the “Fight of the Century” with Joe Frazier.
While Georgia has been home to a number of recent world champions, none have fought in Atlanta as titlists. The late two-division world champion Vernon Forrest was born in nearby Augusta and lived in Atlanta, however he never fought as a champion in the state’s capital. Similarly, former two-division champion Paul Williams, also of Augusta, fought just once in Atlanta in 2001 before he became champion.
Davis, who is on-track to sell out his third consecutive venue of the year in three different cities, is hoping to make big time boxing in Atlanta a permanent fixture.”The spotlight will be on Atlanta,” said Davis. “They haven’t had a big fight there in many years. So it’s a dream to bring big time boxing back just like I did in Baltimore. Atlanta welcomed me with open arms for so many years. I always knew I had a fan base and I always wanted to fight here. Now is the perfect time in my career for it to happen.”
Sean Michael Ham/Mayweather Promotions
Two-time super featherweight champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis is moving on up to 135, and his first test will be against former unified champion Yuriorkis Gamboa on December 28 in Atlanta.
The championship showdown will be live from the award-winning State Farm Arena and is the first boxing title fight to take place in Atlanta since Evander Holyfield vs. Vaughn Bean on September 19, 1998.
While in Atlanta, Davis visited the site of his December 28 title fight and was acknowledged on the big screen inside the arena before and during Monday’s Atlanta Hawks game.
Here is what Davis had to say on Tuesday from the open to the public event at Republic Lounge:
“December 28 is going to be an action packed fight, and not just my fight, but the whole card is going to be great. We’re training hard right now so we can live up to the hype. This is going to be a big event on December 28, not just a boxing show.
“I want to keep getting better and better inside that squared circle. I hope Gamboa brings the best out of me so that people can see that I’m not just a power puncher. I have a lot of boxing skills.
“I’ve always wanted to fight here. Atlanta has accepted me with open arms. Baltimore is always my first home, but being able to come here is special and I really appreciate the support.
“Coming up in weight is something that I know I have to do to be great. Gamboa is a tough opponent. He’s a gold medalist who hits hard. I’m going to test the waters and December 28 I’m going to show everyone what I can do.
“I believe this is the biggest test of my career so far. He’s very accomplished and we know that he’s explosive and comes to fight. He’s a tough opponent but we’re ready. We’re not taking him lightly at all.
“I don’t recall too much from when we sparred, but I remember he got out of the ring quicker than he was supposed to. It’s different sparring than on December 28. I’ll be ready and hopefully he’s ready to give the fans what they want to see.
“This is a really big challenge for me and we know that Gamboa is a bigger guy. He’s an action packed fighter with power and speed. It’s going to be great for the sport and we’re going to make it a great night.
“The fans should expect action on December 28. I’m going to give it my all and I’m going to put him down on his face.”
Photo: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME
Gervonta Davis and Badou Jack met with members of the media last Saturday in Las Vegas to discuss their upcoming matchups taking place Saturday, December 28 live on SHOWTIME at the award-winning State Farm Arena in Atlanta in a special year-end Premier Boxing Champions event.
Two-time super featherweight champion Davis will take on former unified world champion Yuriorkis Gamboa for the WBA Lightweight World Championship as the 24-year-old Davis looks to conquer another division. In the co-main event of a special holiday SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast, former two-division champion Jack will challenge WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion Jean Pascal.
Here’s what the Davis had to say:
Thoughts about Gamboa and moving up in weight:
“We know Gamboa is a veteran and that he’s had a lot of wars, so we know we have a tough fight. He’s definitely dangerous. He can hit. He can fight.
“His last fight he made 134, so we know he can get bigger than me at that weight. I’m going into this knowing he’s a bigger fighter than me. I’m just going to bring my power and capitalize on that weight class and becoming world champion.
“I believe I’m one of the top fighters in the world, but I don’t compare myself to other fighters. I just go out and get the job done.
“Atlanta is my second home. I’m confident I’ll sell it out.”
On his ability and uniqueness as a fighter:
“I come from a different cloth than these other guys. I’ve been through everything in my life. A lot of people haven’t experienced what I have. If I ever get beat it would have to be by someone who’s been through what I have been through. It can’t be anyone who’s just been training all their life.
“Every time I step in the ring I’m willing to leave it all in there. A lot of people haven’t seen my full skills because I haven’t fought an opponent that has brought them out.”
On his potential in the sport:
“The boxing world hasn’t seen my true potential as a fighter, they’ve just seen my power. I’m the type of boxer where if you don’t belong in there with me, you won’t be in there too long. Some fighters like to take their time. I’m the type, if I know you’re not on my level, I’m going to show it. The world will see. I’ll fight anybody.”
Photo: Sean Michael Ham/Mayweather Promotions
Two-time super featherweight champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis, Mayweather Promotions’ top rising star and boxing’s hottest attraction, will seek to conquer another division and close out the year with a bang when he takes on former unified world champion Yuriorkis Gamboa for the WBA Lightweight Title live on SHOWTIME Saturday, December 28 from State Farm Arena in Atlanta in a special year-end Premier Boxing Champions event.
Davis and Gamboa both scored highlight-reel knockouts this summer to set up this world title showdown that will headline a special holiday SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast that begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. Interim WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Jean Pascal will defend against two-division champion Badou Jack in the co-feature of this PBC event.
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.
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.”
Photo: Sean Michael Ham/Mayweather Promotions
The live HBO telecast began with a controversial decision between Yuriorkis Gamboa (28-2, 17 KOs) of Miami, Florida and Jason Sosa (20-3-4, 15 KOs) of Camden, New Jersey. Despite a deducted point for holding in the tenth, Gamboa was declared the winner by majority decision after ten hard-fought rounds. The scorecards varied widely for this bout. One judge scored the contest 94-94. The other two judges scored the fight for Gamboa 95-93 and 96-92.
In the ring following the fight the two fighters had this exchange:
Gamboa: “I’m sorry I didn’t give you a better match. I only had 3 weeks to prepare.”
Sosa: “That’s boxing”
Gamboa: “You gave a great fight. You have a great heart.”
Sosa: “I was a fun fight. I took some breaks but I thought I did enough to win. I know I did enough to win the fight. I didn’t get hurt at all during the fight. I spar with middleweights so that was nothing.”
Gamboa: “It was a good fight. I didn’t have enough time to train. I only had three weeks. I didn’t have time to get ready. I needed 2 or 3 more weeks to lose the weight correctly. Of course the decision was good. I think I won every round. Except for the knockdown and the point deduction.”
Photo: David Spagnolo/Main Events