Photos: Gervonta Davis stops Hugo Ruiz in 1

Gervonta Davis defended his WBA Super Featherweight World Championship with a thrilling first-round TKO of former world champion Hugo Ruiz before a sellout crowd of 8,048 at Dignity Health Sports Park Saturday non SHOWTIME.

Knockdown video highlight: https://s.sho.com/2URYn8t

Baltimore’s Davis (21-0, 20 KOs) recorded his eighth career first-round knockout as referee Jack Reiss called off the fight with one second remaining in the first round following a devastating sweeping right hook by Davis connected cleanly and sent Ruiz (39-5, 32 KOs) down to his knees.

Davis, who entered the ring to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, wasted little time showing why he is one of boxing rising super stars with his impressive fourth win in a world title fight. The 24-year-old Davis is the youngest U.S.-born world titlist in boxing and was headlining for the first time.

With his promoter Floyd Mayweather looking on, Davis made quick work of his late-replacement opponent. “I knew it was coming,” he said. “I wanted to go more rounds, but I knew if I got him out of there early I could fight again sooner. When I touched the jab I saw his arm was in front of his face so if I threw a hook or uppercut it was right in line.”

Davis, who has now stopped his last 12 opponents, connected on 50 percent of his power punches, just under the 51 percent power accuracy he logged in his last four fights.

The late substitute 32-year-old Ruiz was fighting for the second time in three weeks as he replaced the injured Abner Mares. Ruiz was used to being on the other side of first-round knockouts having recorded 18 of his own during his career.

“As soon as he started landing punches, I could feel them,” Ruiz said. “I have a lot of first round knock outs, today was my turn to lose in the first round. It happens in boxing.”

Next up for Davis could be the winner of the March 2 Ricardo Nunez-Edner Cherry WBA Eliminator on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center. “We could do that,” Davis said. “At the end of the day I’m a fighter. I’m a fighter and I have a great team. One of the best in the sport. I believe in my team and whatever they line up, I’m ready.

Davis told SHOWTIME reporter Jim Gray he’s ready for a sweet homecoming for his next fight. “Yes, sir. We’re coming to Baltimore. We’re going home, baby.”

Photos: Dave Mandel/SHOWTIME

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Mayweather: ‘I think Hugo Ruiz is more dangerous opponent than Abner Mares’

WBA Super Featherweight Champion Gervonta Davis and former world champion Hugo Ruiz went face-to-face Thursday at the final press conference before they go toe-to-toe this Saturday night in the main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING from Dignity Health Sports Park, formerly StubHub Center, in Carson, Calif. and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Ruiz is stepping in for the injured Abner Mares, who pulled out of the fight due to a detached retina, and according to Mayweather Promotions president Floyd Mayweather, Ruiz is more dangerous than Mares.

“I think Hugo Ruiz is more dangerous opponent than Abner Mares,” Mayweather said on Thursday. “Abner is a tremendous fighter, but Ruiz is very tough, and he has good knockout power. This is a great matchup and the kind that people want to see. It’s all about putting on great shows, and Saturday will be another blockbuster.”

While many believe that Davis should have an easy night against Ruiz, who fought a few weeks ago on the Pacquiao-Broner undercard, Mayweather thinks Davis has to be careful not to overlook Ruiz.

“I remember when Gervonta Davis first came to my gym,” Mayweather said. “He worked hard and believed in himself. Sometimes we did two-a-days. If we didn’t think the job was done right, we’d come back and correct it. We continue to strive every day to be the best we possibly can be. Gervonta works extremely hard, but he can’t take anything for granted in this fight.”

In the televised undercard, Undefeated super lightweight Mario Barrios will be facing Mexico’s Richard Zamora, while former world champion Javier Fortuna will step in against lightweight contender Sharif Bogere as part of live SHOWTIME action kicking off at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

Photo: Dave Mandel/SHOWTIME

Mares injured; Davis to face Hugo Ruiz

-Three-division, four-time champion Abner Mares has been forced to pull out of the WBA Super Featherweight title match against two-time super featherweight champion Gervonta Davis on Saturday, February 9 after suffering an injury while training.

Davis will now defend against former world champion Hugo Ruiz in the main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, with coverage beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Ruiz is an all-action brawler who previously picked up a world title at super bantamweight in 2015 and most recently defeated Alberto Guevara in January on the Pacquiao vs. Broner PPV event in a featherweight fight. Ruiz, who owns 18 first round knockouts, floored Guevara in the opening minute and cruised to a near-shutout decision victory.

He had originally been slotted for an interim title shot against Jhack Tepora in January before Tepora missed weight, but will now have his chance to fight for a belt against one of the most-feared punchers at 130-pounds on February 9. The 30-year-old from Sinaloa, Mexico stands at five feet, nine inches tall, nearly four inches taller than Davis, and has won three straight fights leading up to this fight.

“I trained for three months to fight a southpaw when I fought in January,” said Ruiz. “When the opponent changed, it was hard to adjust in 24 hours. After the fight I immediately went back to the gym, because you never know what’s going to happen in boxing. I’m 100 percent ready to knockout Gervonta Davis.”

“Hugo Ruiz has another opportunity to fight for a world title because he’s demonstrated that he’s devoted to boxing and his career,” said Sampson Lewkowicz, Ruiz’s Promoter. “He went right back to the gym after his last fight. He’s ready for another great opportunity to be a world champion and he’s going to take advantage of that opportunity.”

Mares injured his right elbow during sparring at the Robert Garcia Boxing Gym in Riverside, Calif. Mares said he had experienced soreness in his elbow following the past two fights, but nothing that had ever given him nor his team concern.

“I’m not going to sugarcoat this. I’m disappointed and devastated that I’ve injured my right elbow in sparring,” Mares said. “This is something that I haven’t had happen to me during my career and the feeling is just horrible. I will be going to see my doctor about this and am prepared to follow whatever recommendations and rehab that gets me back into the ring. I’m healthy, not afraid of doing the work and I will be back. This is a temporary setback. Don’t count me out.”

“Boxing is a sport of brains, passion and physical punishment,” said Mares’ trainer Robert Garcia. “When you’re in the ring sparring with talented, top-class sparring partners, the chances of injuries are very high. That was the situation in this case. He was sparring top young fighters and he injured his elbow. He cannot fight like that, especially in a fight against Davis.”

Mares, who has engaged in numerous memorable fights throughout his storied career, was seeking to move up in weight and looking to capture his fifth world title in a fourth weight class.

The event is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, TGB Promotions and Sampson Boxing