Gervonta Davis defended his WBA world lightweight championship, beating Hector Luis Garcia by TKO after eight rounds  with the Dominican telling his corner ‘I can’t see’ after enduring an eighth round onslaught. Garcia failed to return for the ninth and did well to make it through the eighth. Davis shrugged off a slow start to improve to 28-0 with 26 KOs and hand Garcia his first professional loss in his 17th match. 

‘I was a little surprised but when I caught him, I knew that he was hurt and that he was hurt bad,’ Davis said. ‘He’s a fighter and I know he didn’t want to show it but he was hurt Garcia failed to return for the ninth and did well to make it through the eighth. Davis shrugged off a slow start to improve to 28-0 with 26 KOs and hand Garcia his first professional loss in his 17th match. 

‘I feel as though I have stuff to work on. I’m a fighter and I’m not retired so my cup is never full. I’m always willing to learn. ‘I struggled a little bit because I don’t fight southpaws that often but it’s OK because that’s part of the game.’

Garcia, for his part, said: ‘When I got the shots to the head in the final round, I couldn’t see anymore.’ The Baltimore native Davis, fighting in his second hometown, is scheduled to face Ryan Garcia in April in one of boxing’s most anticipated showdowns of the year. 

‘God willing, I’m ready for the fight,’ he said. ‘It’s scheduled for April and I’m here. On my end, I’m ready. I’ll take a week off and I’ll be back in the gym for sure.’ But first, ‘Tank’ Davis had to get through Garcia, the Dominican who he said ‘earned his spot’ thanks to a strong 2022.

After the sellout crowd of 19,731 waited until just before 1 a.m. for the start of the main event, Davis and Garcia waited a little longer to get going, starting with a couple of low-event rounds and very few punches thrown. 

Davis found his groove in the fourth round, landing several jabs and bringing fans to their feet. An altercation in the stands ringside led the referee to stop the action midway through the eighth round, as Davis and Garcia were distracted by the disturbance. 

The fight resumed for more than a minute, and Davis put on a show until the bell, landing enough blows to end the match. He celebrated in equally flamboyant style – climbing the ropes before backflipping onto the canvas. 

The fight headlined Showtime’s first major event at the building now known as Capital One Arena since Mike Tyson’s final bout in 2005 against Kevin McBride. Davis said he was not worried about the fight not happening, saying he just wanted to clear his name.

It was in danger of being called off when Davis was arrested and charged with domestic violence in late December, before the woman who called police put out a statement on social media days later saying Davis ‘did not harm me or our daughter.’

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