Dirrell-Davis Battle To Split Draw
Two-time super-middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell and tough contender Kyrone Davis battled to a hard-fought 12-round split draw in a WBC Super Middleweight title elimination match in the main event of FOX PBC Fight Night Saturday night from the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in Los Angeles.
It was a tactical match as both boxers displayed superb skills, battling from a distance and in close quarters. Dirrell landed the more accurate shots, but Davis matched his work rate on offense. As the fight wore on it became a question of whether the wily veteran, Dirrell, would be able to drag the younger man, Davis, out into deep waters and sink him. Davis didn’t let that happen, making Dirrell work for everything he got in the fight.
In the end, neither man was the clear-cut winner. Judge Patrick Russell scored it 115-113 for Dirrell. Judge Lou Moret scored it 115-113 for Davis and Judge Zachary Young had it 114-114 even.
“I thought I won the fight. I pushed the fight, hit him with cleaner punches,” Dirrell said. “He hit gloves a lot. I knew it was going to be a draw—as soon as they said it was going to be a split decision. I can’t control what the judges do and I respect them all because they have different perspectives and angles on what is happening.
“I was pressing the fight, I wasn’t tired at all. My jab was working. But I can’t stop what the judges think. Davis fought well. He did what he was supposed to, came in with a good game plan. He was boxing, he normally doesn’t do that. But we pressed the action.”
There was something extra on the line for the winner of the fight – a shot at the WBC Super Middleweight title. The 36-year-old Dirrell (33-2-2, 24 KOs), a two-time WBC 168-pound champion, had the edge in experience over the 26-year-old Davis, who was fighting for the first time at 168 pounds. The younger brother of Andre Dirrell, a bronze medalist for the 2004 U.S. Olympic boxing team, Dirrell was coming off a hard-fought loss to former champion David Benavidez. Dirrell of Flint, Michigan has cleared several hurdles in his life, including surviving cancer and a horrendous motorcycle accident. He was looking at this as his path back to the championship ranks. And he still is.
“I’m looking for a title. I’m not looking for just another fight. I’m looking for a big fight. That’s the plan,” Dirrell said. “I’ll take whoever has a belt, whoever we can get. I’ll take a Canelo, or a Caleb Plant.”
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Davis (15-2-1, 6 KOs) stepped up to the biggest challenge of his career in taking on Dirrell. The most notable victory of his career had come against Marcos Hernandez in 2017. Hernandez was undefeated at the time. In the early rounds against Dirrell, Davis of Wilmington, Delaware seemed a bit hesitant, but settled in as the fight rolled to the middle rounds. He pressed the action at times, but it wasn’t enough to convince two of the judges to give him the decision.
“I thought I won the fight, 116-112. It was a great opportunity. They doubted me. They told me he was going to knock me out. This was supposed to be a showcase for him but it wasn’t,” Davis said. “My body felt well. I felt good. Anthony Dirrell is a two-time world champion. I really wanted to make a statement. A draw is not as bad as a loss but I really don’t like breaking even.
“It was my first 12-rounder so it was a little unfamiliar for me. I knew he was experienced, but I kept my composure and pushed through it. I stuck to the game plan that (trainer) Stephen “Breadman” Edwards gave me.”