Super Lightweight Challenge For 'Tank' Davis
ATLANTA (May 19, 2021) – Four-time world champion Gervonta “Tank” Davis will take on a career-defining challenge as he sets his sights on capturing a title in a third weight class when he faces undefeated WBA Super Lightweight Champion Mario “El Azteca” Barrios in a SHOWTIME PPV main event Saturday, June 26 at the award-winning State Farm Arena in Atlanta in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
The pay-per-view undercard will feature a battle of two top 154-pound contenders as Erickson “Hammer” Lubin faces former unified champion Jeison Rosario in a WBC Super Welterweight Title Eliminator in the co-main event. Former unified super welterweight champion Julian “J-Rock” Williams returns to the ring for the first time in 18 months to take on Brian Mendoza in a 10-round showdown and hard-hitting Olympian Batyr Akhmedov steps in against former world champion Argenis Mendez in a 12-round WBA Super Lightweight Title Eliminator to kick off the pay-per-view telecast at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
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Tickets for the live event at State Farm Arena, which is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, GTD Promotions and TGB Promotions, go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. ET, and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com. The Akhmedov vs. Mendez fight is promoted in association with World of Boxing.
One of boxing’s biggest stars at just 26-years-old, Davis moves up to 140-pounds for the first time in his career as he aims to add super lightweight champion to his stellar resume. Davis has already captured titles at 130 and 135-pounds. With a victory, Davis will hold world championships in three different divisions simultaneously, a feat only accomplished by a few fighters in history, including Henry Armstrong and Canelo Alvarez. Standing in his way is the undefeated 25-year-old Barrios, who owns a 9-0 record with eight knockouts during his 140-pound reign while holding a six-inch height advantage over Davis.
“Gervonta Davis is looking to become a three-division world champion, and has a big undertaking in front of him in challenging Barrios for his WBA title at 140-pounds,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “Barrios is a warrior, and this is going to be Davis’ toughest fight to date. Atlanta, be ready for a show on June 26!”
Davis (24-0, 23 KOs) delivered a highlight-reel knockout in his last fight, producing another sensational and memorable performance that has made him a popular draw throughout the country. Davis stopped four-division champion Leo Santa Cruz with one powerful uppercut in that October 2020 fight and put Santa Cruz down and out for the first time in his illustrious career. Promoted by Mayweather Promotions, Davis will make his second headline appearance on pay-per-view as he has asserted himself as a must-see headline attraction in his first pay-per-view
Davis first burst onto the scene with an explosive knockout victory over Jose Pedraza to win the IBF Junior Lightweight World Title in a star-making performance on SHOWTIME® in January 2017. At the time, he became the youngest world champion in boxing at age 22. The Baltimore-native also owns knockout performances in world title fights over Jesus Cuellar in 2018 and Yuriorkis Gamboa in 2019. The 2019 triumph over Gamboa came at a sold out State Farm Arena, during a year that also saw him fill venues in his hometown of Baltimore and Southern California.
“I’m excited to make history on June 26 in Atlanta and become a three-division world champion,” said Davis. “Atlanta welcomed me with open arms for my fight against Gamboa and I couldn’t wait to come back and headline a spectacular SHOWTIME PPV card. Mario Barrios is an undefeated champion, but he hasn’t ever faced anyone like me before. Moving up to 140-pounds is a big challenge but I’ve been working hard in camp and I’ll be ready. Thank you to my whole team for making this historic boxing event possible. Make sure you get your tickets early because this fight is definitely selling out! Keep supporting me and I’ll fight for you!”
Barrios (26-0, 17 KOs) captured his 140-pound championship in September 2019, scoring two knockdowns and fighting through a cut to win a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Batyr Akhmedov. The San Antonio-native trains in Oakland, Calif., under the guidance of renowned coach Virgil Hunter. In his most recent outing, Barrios knocked out Ryan Karl in the sixth-round of their clash on the pay-per-view undercard of Davis vs. Santa Cruz.
Standing nearly six-feet tall, Barrios debuted as a pro at super bantamweight in 2013 and had success moving up the rankings in the super featherweight division. His first 140-pound bout came in 2017 and saw him increase his power from his previous performances. At super lightweight, Barrios has scored knockouts in every fight except the title-winning performance against Akhmedov, where his power was still on display with a pair of knockdowns.
“Fighting on SHOWTIME PPV is a dream come true and an opportunity that I’m going to take full advantage of,” said Barrios. “Gervonta Davis is a pound-for-pound champion and it’s going to be an honor sharing the ring with him. This fight is my shining moment and the pinnacle of the boxing world, on the biggest stage possible. Boxing fans around the globe will be watching this fight and I’m coming to shock the world. To all my Mexican fans, I'm going to bring this historic victory home for La Raza.”
The 25-year-old Lubin (23-1, 16 KOs) has put together an impressive five-bout winning streak since a loss to unified 154-pound champion Jermell Charlo in 2017. In his most recent outing, he defeated U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha by unanimous decision in September of last year. Prior to the victory over Gausha, he became the first person to stop former champion Ishe Smith, in addition to a dominating victory over Nathaniel Gallimore in October 2019. A native of Orlando, Fla., Lubin is trained by acclaimed coach Kevin Cunningham as he continues his quest toward another title opportunity. After a stellar amateur career, Lubin turned pro at 18 years old in 2013, eventually being named “Prospect Of The Year” by ESPN and Ring Magazine in 2016.
“I’m so ready for this fight and we’ve been working hard in preparation for Rosario,” said Lubin. “This fight is another step closer to getting that world title shot. Coach Cunningham and I have a great game plan in place. We know this is going to be a tough fight and the fans are going to see a much-improved version of myself. I’ve taken my training to the next level during this training camp. Rosario is a former world champion who I know is going to bring his best, which is going to make for a great night of boxing. This card is stacked, but I’m going to steal the show with an incredible performance. I will not be denied, I’m coming out on top. It's Hammer Time!”
Rosario (20-2-1, 14 KOs) will look to climb back into world title contention after losing his 154-pound belts to Jermell Charlo in their September 2020 clash. The 26-year-old captured the WBA and IBF belts by stopping Julian Williams in one of 2020’s biggest upsets. Born in the Dominican Republic and now fighting out of Miami, Rosario rode an eight-fight unbeaten streak into the showdown with Williams, including victories over 154-pound contenders Jamontay Clark, Justin DeLoach, Jorge Cota and Marcos Hernandez. Coming into the Charlo matchup, Rosario had established his power by earning a stoppage victory or scoring a knockdown in seven of his previous nine contests.
“I make no excuses for losing the fight to Charlo, but that was then, and this is now,” said Rosario. “I have turned to a new page in my career with my new trainer Herman Caicedo. I will not lose again, especially in this fight against Lubin. He’s a great contender, and I respect his abilities, but I will knock him out on June 26.”
Philadelphia’s Williams (27-2-1, 16 KOs) became a unified world champion at 154-pounds in May 2019 when he upset Jarrett Hurd in one of the year’s best fights, winning a close-quarters brawl by unanimous decision. The 31-year-old dropped the titles in his first defense, losing to Jeison Rosario in January 2020. Williams had been riding a five-fight winning streak going into the Rosario matchup, in which he added victories over former champion Ishe Smith and hard-hitting contender Nathaniel Gallimore to his ledger.
“This has been the longest layoff of my career, so I’m excited to get back in the ring,” said Williams. “Mendoza is a decent fighter. I’ve even been in the gym with him and he’s a good guy. But on June 26, it’s going to be all business. I just need to come out on top. He doesn’t have anything that I haven’t seen before. I know he’ll be ready because this is like the Super Bowl for him. So I know he’ll be ready, but I’ll be ready too. If I’m able to get the win, then it’s on to bigger and better opportunities. But I’m definitely not looking past Brian because I know how seriously he’s taking this fight.”
Mendoza (19-1, 13 KOs) earned a career best-victory in his last outing, beating veteran contender Thomas LaManna by unanimous decision in August 2020. The 27-year-old has fought professionally since 2014, with his only defeat coming by a narrow split-decision in November 2019 against Larry Gomez. Mendoza was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he won two New Mexico Golden Gloves Championships as an amateur, and currently fights out of Las Vegas.
“This fight against Julian Williams is just the fight I’ve been waiting for,” said Mendoza. “I’m planning to take full advantage of the opportunity. Julian Williams is a great fighter, but after June 26, the whole world is going to know that I belong at this level.”
Born in Uzbekistan and now fighting out of Los Angeles, Akhmedov (8-1, 7 KOs) represented Turkey at the 2016 Olympic games. The 30-year-old turned pro in 2017 and won his first seven pro fights, with six coming by knockout. His lone blemish came in an action-packed title fight against Mario Barrios in September 2019, where he was able to survive two knockdowns to make it a close fight, before eventually losing by decision. Most recently, Akhmedov blasted out Ray Perez in the first round of their September 2020 clash.
“I can’t wait to get back in the ring for a big fight on June 26,” said Akhmedov. “I’ve been training hard to get another shot at the title. I know that if I make a big statement and defeat a former world champion in Mendez, I expect my next fight will be for the title. I’m always in exciting fights that fans love, and this matchup is going to be no different.”
A former super featherweight champion, Mendez (25-6-3, 12 KOs) has a reputation for providing stiff challenges to the sport’s best and has proven to be a durable contender at 140-pounds, including his most recent outing that saw him drop a split-decision to Richardson Hitchins last December. In 2019, Mendez fought to back-to-back draws against super lightweight contenders Anthony Peterson and Juan Heraldez. Born in San Juan de La Maguana, Dominican Republic, Mendez now fights out of Yonkers, N.Y. and owns victories over Eddie Ramirez, Ivan Redkach and former titlist Miguel Vazquez. He has also gone toe-to-toe with former champions Rances Barthelemy and Robert Easter Jr.
“I am ready for anything Akhmedov brings and then a world title fight after,” said Mendez. “I believe that I beat Hitchins in my last fight, even though I was coming off a long layoff. I’m in great shape right now. Akhmedov is a hard puncher, but the fans are going to see me shine against him. There is a lot left in my tank and that will be obvious to everyone on June 26.”