Lightweight Keyshawn Davis (Norfolk, Va.) advanced to the finals, scheduled for Sunday, August 8, after another victory over a familiar opponent.
Davis, who faced Armenia’s Hovhannes Bachkov during the 2019 World Championship semifinals, was once again victorious over the 2016 Olympian. Davis won two cards, 29-27, while he was the preferred winner on three cards that had the bout even, 28-28, after Davis was deducted a point in the second round, leading the judges to select an overall winner.
The first round saw Davis outbox his opponent, taking all five judges’ score cards to take the lead. The second round saw Davis being deducted the point, while Backov found more of a rhythm and saw three of the five judges awarding him the round over the American. Davis returned to form in the final round, taking the round 5-0, and forcing three judges to then pick the overall winner, which were all in favor of Davis.
Davis will have a day of rest before competing in the gold medal bout against Cuba’s Andy Cruz. The highly anticipated matchup will see the two go head-to-head for the biggest platform the two have boxed each other in. Cruz, who currently holds a 3-0 record over Davis, advanced by way of unanimous decision over Australia’s Harry Garside.
Davis will look to add his name to the likes of other lightweight Olympic Champions, including the last boxer to do so, Oscar De La Hoya (1992), as well as Norfolk’s own Pernell Whitaker (1984).
Joining Davis during Sunday’s final day of boxing will be Team USA captain and super heavyweight Richard Torrez Jr. (Tulare, Calif.).
Davis and Torrez are the final two remaining Americans boxing in Tokyo and will look to add to Team USA’s two medals already confirmed, bronze from Oshae Jones (Toledo, Ohio) and silver from Duke Ragan (Cincinnati, Ohio). The four medals won by USA Boxing are the most medals since 2000 Sydney Olympics.
63 kg: Keyshawn Davis, Norfolk, Va./USA, dec. over Hovhannes Backov/ARM, 5-0
On what he thought of the fight:
“It was what I experienced last time. The last time I fought him I wasn’t as strong, I wasn’t as quick and fast. When I fought him last time, I remember I exerted all my energy. My chest was burning. I just wanted to go to sleep after the fight. But now I’m more physically strong and stuff like that. I’ve still got my excitement going. I feel good.”
On how boxing helps him channel his anxiety and anger in the right way:
“It channels it into positive energy. At the end of the fight I look mean, aggressive and strong, but outside the fight I’m really a humble, genuine guy and I like to have fun. Boxing has helped me to find a way to find a balance in everything that I was going through.”
On the gold-medal bout on Sunday:
“I feel like that’s going to be an easy fight, man. I feel like it’s going to be easier for me. Like I said, I’m bigger, stronger, faster, smarter. It showed today. If you would go watch my previous fight with Armenia, it definitely showed today.”
On his emotions after the fight:
“I still can’t believe it, man. The first time I exerted myself beating this guy. This time, yes, it was a physical, hard fight, but I felt in control the entire fight. I felt comfortable the entire fight.”
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