Gervonta “Tank” Davis is still the IBF super-featherweight world champion. In all honesty what I though would be an interesting twelve rounder turned into a one sided beating in round three as soon as Walsh fell into the trap Davis had been trying to lure him into from the opening bell. The potentially risky looking title defence away from home turned out to be a demonstration of the champion's under-rated ring craft which led to him showcasing his power to end the fight.
It was a forgettable night for Walsh. One of the better technical boxers from these shores, he never looked comfortable in what was his first world title fight. The alarm bells were ringing early for me as midway through a cagey first round Walsh switched into the orthodox stance. I'm not sure what the benefit of this move was so early in the fight – all it did was give Davis an early indication that he may have to deal with this at some stage in the encounter. As it turned out it did not matter.
The opening two rounds were quiet as both boxers sized up the man in front of them. Walsh was keen to keep on the move but he didn't seem eager to throw anything of note. Davis was playing a smart game of cat and mouse with the challenger at this point. The smaller fighter would inch into an area where Walsh looked to have him where he wanted but as soon as Walsh looked to employ any offense “Tank” would strike quickly with a straight or overhand left or a lightning jab, then be gone. It was tactical stuff, the occasions where anything of note actually landed were rare, but Davis was getting the better of it and was two rounds up on my card after the first six minutes.
Then came the third round fireworks.
Walsh, now back to boxing southpaw, took the bait, electing to hold his feet and trade briefly with Davis. He then found himself very close to the champion and taking two big overhand lefts to the temple area. Although he remained on his feet his legs were shaky and his defence suspect. Davis stalked him across the ring and landed another four left hands and the home fighter was on the canvas. Walsh rose at eight resembling someone who had been on the sauce for several hours but remarkably the referee allowed it to continue. Senses dulled and defence lacking Walsh was now a sitting duck for Davis. Two more big lefts landed and the referee correctly stepped in and called a halt to the bout. After all the setup work it was a thirty second offensive explosion from Davis which ended Walsh's challenge.
Post fight both men spoke to the host broadcaster.
Gervonta Davis spoke humbly: “I want to thank my whole team, today the performance was great. I ended my camp in Las Vegas with Floyd Mayweather, he stuck with me, he trained with me. I just want to thank Showtime, BT Sport and Boxnation for broadcasting. Thank you to all the fans who tuned in, I appreciate you very much.”
Liam Walsh couldn't hide his disappointment: “Congratulations to Gervonta for a good fight. He was smart, he's very fast. I'm gutted because I didn't box the best I can box. I've got to watch it again but I believe I've got to be given more of a chance. I've been down once fair enough but I didn't feel I was out on my feet. I am far from done (career wise) I'm gutted because I know I'm so much better. Watch me rise from here.”
Moving forward then Walsh stated there that he will be back. Whether he is good enough to mix it up at the highest level of the super-feather division is a matter of opinion but based on tonight's showing it looks like world level may be a bit beyond him.
Speaking of world level Gervonta Davis will be operating there for a long time. The other title holders in the 130lb division – Miguel Berchelt (WBC), Jezreel Corrales (WBA) and Vasyl Lomachenko (WBO) all have upcoming fights signed or just about to be signed so any unification bouts may take a while to come to fruition. While Lomachenko looks a cut above, matching Davis with Berchelt or Corrales in the not too distant future could see the man from Baltimore add to his title haul.
For now though all we can do is reflect on what has just happened. Has Gervonta's reputation been enhanced by his trip to London? In the cold light of day the answer to this is probably going to be no as Walsh at no point looked dangerous in the fight. The young American should be given credit though for taking on an unbeaten fighter away from home and doing a professional job. It is an experience which may benefit him down the line.
Walsh has plenty to consider in terms of what level he will decide to come back at. As for Davis, the “Tank” rolls on to the next challenge. Both men will be linked in history for the two and a half rounds they shared in London but it now looks like their careers are heading in very different directions.
On what was an enjoyable card overall two of the promising younger boxers signed with promoter Frank Warren were given the chance to shine.
Heavyweight Daniel Dubois took on David Howe in a four round contest. For the third successive fight 19 year old Dubois won by knock-out to keep his 100% KO streak alive. Clearly it is early days for Dubois and he is expected to win these contests but in each of his three fights so far he has faced opponents with winning records. Howe entered the ring with a 13-5 record but he was quickly dispatched, knocked out by a peach of a right hand which detonated on his chin after less than 40 seconds.
Dubois as well as carrying obvious power looks to have good fundamentals. For such a young boxer, who declined the four year cycle up to the next Olympics in the amateur ranks, he looks to have excellent fundamentals already. His punches are fluid but from what I've observed so far I most like his positional sense in the ring. He always seems to be at the optimum distance when delivering his shots. He doesn't get over excited and get too close therefore smothering his work when he has his man hurt or on the ropes. It will be interesting to see how Dubois develops but at this stage he looks like a prospect to keep an eye on.
In much the same vein light-heavyweight Anthony Yarde put in a dominant performance, picking up a regional title in the process. Slightly further along in terms of pro fights than Dubois, Yarde moved his record to 11-0, 10KOs by giving Chris Hobbs a going over en route to Hobbs' corner throwing in the towel during the closing seconds of round four.
Yarde, 25, had his man down six times in total, doing all the damage with painful looking body shots. It was a great exhibition of power and shot selection from the London born boxer against a game but over-matched opponent. While much harder fights await it was good to see a young boxer patiently break his opponent down with well placed body shots. The only people who would disagree would be Chris Hobbs and his fans.
While not getting carried away as Yarde and Dubois both have a long road ahead keep an eye on their progress. If they keep knocking opponents out like they are at the moment they will find themselves performing on more cards like tonight's and gaining more attention from the boxing world.