Keyshawn Davis celebrating after securing a podium spot at the 2019 Elite World Championships on Sept. 18, 2019 in Ekaterinburg, Russia.
This past spring, boxer Keyshawn Davis called his first international win at the 2018 Strandja Tournament in Bulgaria the highlight of his amateur career.
He can now scratch that.
In his world championship debut, the 20-year-old from Norfolk, Virginia, capped an outstanding summer by becoming the first American to stand on the podium in the lightweight division in 26 years with a silver medal in Saturday’s title bout.
The last U.S. boxer to medal at the AIBA world championships was Larry Nicholson in 1993. There were only two lightweight world championship medalists from the U.S. before Nicholson: Tonga McClain and the late Pernell Whitaker, who, like Davis, was from Norfolk. No U.S. boxer has ever won a lightweight title at the world championships.
Saturday’s meeting in Ekaterinburg, Russia, was the third between Davis and Andy Cruz of Cuba. The two faced each other in the final of the Pan American Games Qualifier in April and the Pan American Games in July, with Cruz winning both matchups.
Although both fighters landed replay-worthy shots, Cruz also took Saturday’s meeting by unanimous decision, winning on points, 5-0.
Coming off his runner-up performance at the Pan Am Games two months ago, Davis defeated Hovhannes Bachkov of Armenia, 4-1, in the semifinal to advance to the title bout. In the first round he beat Uzbekistan’s Elnur Abduraimov by unanimous decision following a knockout in the first round, then took all five judges’ cards against Trinidad and Tobago’s Michael Matthew Alexander. He then beat 2016 Olympic silver medalist Sofiane Oumiha of France, 5-0, to advance to the medal rounds.