Gervonta Davis stops Romero in 6th, retains lightweight belt

Gervonta Davis regained her knockout power and retained her lightweight title on Saturday night after stopping Rolando Romero in the sixth round.

NEW YORK (AP) — Gervonta Davis regained her knockout power and retained her lightweight title on Saturday night, stopping Rolando Romero in the sixth round.

Davis landed a crushing left hand near the corner and Romero fell forward into the ropes. He struggled and got up but was wobbly all the way and referee David Fields ended the fight.

Davis (27-0, 25 KOs) had to go the distance in his latest victory for only the second time in his career, and Romero said it showed the three-division champion was vulnerable.

If Davis was, it wasn’t for long. He appeared to injure his left hand on a punch in the fifth round, but there was nothing wrong with that in the next.

“The crazy thing is I didn’t even throw it that hard. He just fell on it,” Davis said.

Shortly after leaving the ring, many fans attempting to leave Barclays Center ran towards the arena floor, with some even jumping into the ring in panic due to an unknown commotion near the exit. Security held fans in an area for some time until it was resolved.

Romero lost for the first time in 15 professional fights.

It was an electrifying end to boxing big’s return to Brooklyn, where Davis won his first title in 2017. He drew an arena record 18,970 for that fight, with the first big card at Barclays Center since before the start of the pandemic two years ago, including Madonna and a number of sports stars.

Davis and Romero were supposed to fight in December, but the challenger was pulled from the card as a sexual assault complaint against him was investigated. Davis went on to defeat substitute Isaac Cruz by unanimous decision, having knocked out all of his opponents since 2015.

The fight was later rescheduled after no charges were filed against Romero and the buildup featured a lot of garbage from the challenger. Davis laughed off most of the conversation, but was annoyed enough to push Romero off stage during their weigh-in on Friday.

The Baltimore native hit it much harder on Saturday.

Romero repeatedly bragged that he would take out Davis in one round, but the only significant punches in the first three minutes were landed in a fight in the stands. He scored well with a few shots in the second, but then lost a chance to follow when he pushed Davis to the canvas as they squeezed.

The fight was pretty even for four rounds and Davis looked like he was on his way to his most dominant round in the fifth when he suddenly winced after appearing to hurt his hand. Whatever the problem, it didn’t last very long.

“I didn’t even throw it that hard and he was the one who ran into him, when he said it was going to be me,” Davis said.

With both fighters being promoted by Mayweather Promotions, Romero claimed they were supposed to practice multiple times, but Davis backed off. He finally got his chance less than 10 years ago after starting his boxing career, having given up judo at 17.

He was the No. 1 ranked contender, but clearly still nowhere near Davis’ level.

After walking to the ring while hearing many boos from the pro-Davis crowd, Romero bounced off the ropes and jumped defiantly. Davis then came in and danced to Romero’s corner and stared at him, like he was ready to start fighting right away.

Once that started, he needed a few laps to warm up before he figured out and finished Romero.

In the co-feature, Erislandy Lara, the longtime 154-pound champion who moved up to 160 and won a title, stopped Gary O’Sullivan 23 seconds into the eighth round. Lara (29-3-3, 17 KOs) landed a left and looked set to finish O’Sullivan in the closing seconds of the seventh before the bell rang. O’Sullivan was allowed to start the eighth but the Cuban pushed him away with another hard left and referee Benjy Esteves waved the fight off.

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