‘Tank’ Davis knocks out Martin in 8th round to retain WBA lightweight title – WJBF

MARK ANDERSON, Associated Press

12 minutes ago


Gervonta “Tank” Davis celebrates after knocking out Frank Martin during the WBA Lightweight Boxing Championship on Saturday, June 15, 2024 in Las Vegas. (Ellen Schmidt/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Gervonta “Tank” Davis made a triumphant return to the ring after more than a year away, once again showing why he is one of the best pound-for-pound boxers.

Armed with a punching power not typically associated with a lightweight, Davis made full use of his skills on Saturday night to dominate Frank Martin and knock him out at 1:29 of the eighth round to retain the WBA Championship.

“I knew the way he fell he wasn’t going to get back up,” Davis said.

Davis delivered a right and two left shots to Martin’s face to send the Indianapolis native to the canvas for his first career loss after winning his first 18 fights. Tank once again proved to be one of the most brutal punchers in boxing, improving to 30-0 – all but two by knockout.

He predicted an eight-round knockout before the fight.

“I just threw that out. The next fight in the first round,” Davis said with a smile.

This fight showed why Davis, a native and native of Baltimore, was a substantial favorite at 7-1, according to BetMGM Sportsbook.

That fight between 29-year-olds headlined the 100th championship fight night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, which has supplanted the T-Mobile Arena as Las Vegas’ premier venue for combat sports. Four title fights took place to mark the occasion, including the interim WBC light heavyweight championship that David Benavidez won by unanimous decision against Oleksandr Gvozdyk.

But there was no doubt who the main draws were this evening, and that became clear at Wednesday’s press conference. Davis and Martin chatted back and forth during Wednesday’s news conference. When the two boxers then struck traditional poses, Davis pretended to lunge at Martin. Martin cringed and Davis left the stage laughing.

This was Davis’ first fight since April 22, 2023, when he delivered a devastating left uppercut that earned Ryan Garcia a seventh-round knockout at T-Mobile Arena. Garcia, wearing a shirt that read “Tank’s No. 1 Fan’, congratulated and hugged the champion after the victory over Martin.

The layoff of 421 days was reflected early when Martin won two of the first three rounds, including a right that landed Davis in the face.

That seemed to wake up Davis, who then took over the fight by repeatedly sending Martin into the ropes and corners. Davis looked ready to finish Martin with several hard punches in the sixth round, bringing the pro-Tank crowd of 13,239 to their feet.

“I had to get in the right range,” Davis said. “He has quite a punch. I had to break it off while the fight was going on.

In the eighth, Davis put an end to any doubts by charging after Martin early and knocking him out midway through the round. As Martin was counted out, Davis bounced on the second rung of the ropes, jumped off and then went to the top ropes, performed a backflip and stuck the landing.

“I got caught with a shot I didn’t see,” Martin said. “It came from below.”

Benavidez (29-0) made a successful debut in his rise from super middleweight. The Las Vegas native defeated Gvozdyk (20-2), a native of Ukraine who trains in Oxnard, California, by scores of 116-112, 117-111 and 119-109.

Alberto Puello (23-0) of the Dominican Republic won the WBC interim super lightweight championship with a split decision over Gary Russell (17-1) of Capitol Heights, Maryland. Two judges gave Puello the win with scores of 115-112 and 114-113 and another had it for Russell 118-109.

Dominican middleweight champion Carlos Adames (24-1) retained his WBC title with a unanimous decision over Terrell Gausha (24-4-1) of Encino, California. Two judges scored the fight 118-110 and the other scored it 119-109.

Heisman Trophy winner and Washington Commanders rookie quarterback Jayden Daniels was among those in attendance. Milwaukee Bucks star Damian Lillard, Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan and coach Antonio Pierce and owner Mark Davis of the Las Vegas Raiders were also in the crowd.


AP sports: