Rising Boxing Star Gervonta Davis is Looking to Keep His Unblemished Record

Undefeated boxer Gervonta Davis will defend his WBA super featherweight title against the experienced Hugo Ruiz this weekend in California.

Updated: Feb. 6, 2019 • 7:30 PM ET

Carson, Calif. will host this weekend's WBA super featherweight title fight.

Gervonta Davis is one of boxing’s most promising young champions and rising stars. He’ll try to continue his climb up the pound-for-pound rankings this Saturday, as he defends his WBA super featherweight belt against veteran challenger Hugo Ruiz in Carson, Calif.

Abner Mares was originally scheduled to fight Davis, but an elbow injury suffered during training forced Mares to withdraw from the fight. Ruiz has stepped in on short notice after fighting on Jan. 19 on the Manny Pacquiao vs. Adrien Broner card, during which he scored a unanimous decision victory over last-minute opponent Alberto Guevara.

Davis (20-0, 19 KOs) is a two-time champion, as he previously held the IBF super featherweight belt. He’ll attempt to defend his WBA belt for the second time, as the 24-year-old pride of Baltimore successfully defended his title against Jesus Marcelo Andres Cuellar by TKO last April. April was the last time Davis has fought in the ring, and he’s currently riding an 11-fight finish streak.

After finishing a highly successful amateur career with a 206-15 record, Davis turned pro at 18 years old. He won the 2012 Golden Gloves championships and three straight National Silver Gloves Championships from 2006 to 2008. He’s looking forward to the biggest fight of his career thus far.

“I’m just excited,” Davis said during a recent media conference call. “This is my first main event in the US, so like I said I’m in a great space right now. I know that 2019 is very big for me and I’m just soaking it all in. I don’t feel like I should be nervous though when you have good food on your plate. I’m just, I’m ready.

Aside Cuellar, the champion has high profile wins over Francisco Fonseca, Liam Walsh and Jose Pedraza.

In regard to his late replacement opponent, Davis explained, “I just want to say I’m excited for February 9. I’m looking forward to my new opponent.

“Sorry to the fans who purchased tickets thinking that I was fighting Abner. My main focus was fighting Abner. February 9, I’m just trying to give them an action-packed fight, no matter who I fight. I’ll put on a great performance for the fans so they can enjoy the fight and go home with something to talk about.”

With his victory in January, Ruiz is on a three-fight winning streak since losing the WBC super bantamweight title to Hozumi Hasegawa in 2016. In response to fighting Davis, Ruiz doesn’t seem like he’s intimidated by the champion.

“I’ve seen him fight of course a few times and I know he’s a counterpuncher,” Ruiz said. “He looks for the knockout just like me. So this could be very electric starting early because as you well know I’m also a guy that looks for the knockout from the first round immediately. So that’s what I’ve seen and it should be exciting.”

The 32-year-old Mexican fighter doesn’t believe he needs to change his style to defeat Davis.

“No, my style will definitely not change,” Ruiz said. “That’s been my style. I didn’t think this fight would come so soon, but I definitely was looking at being champion at 130.

“This is a great opportunity that’s been given to me to fight this upcoming week. My style will not change. I will look toward the knockout against Gervonta Davis. If you’ve seen my 39 wins, 33 have come via the knockout. So I’m going to maintain my style, that’s the way I fight.

Ruiz turned pro in 2006 and has key victories over Julio Ceja, Ramon Maas, Julio Cesar Miranda and Yonfrez Parejo.


Also on the card

Highly touted prospect Mario Barrios (22-0, 14 KOs) will face Richard Zamora (19-2, 12 KOs) in a junior welterweight bout.

The 23-year-old Barrios is riding a six-fight knockout streak and most recently defeated Jose Roman in July. The 25-year-old Zamora is riding a five-fight win streak and most recently defeated Daniel Armando Valenzuela in December.

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