Keyshawn Davis (Norfolk, Va.) round of 16 performance against France’s Sofiane Oumiha, 2016 Olympic silver medalist and 2017 World Champion, sent a strong message to the remaining boxers in the lightweight division.
Leading his opponent on three of the five judges’ cards after the opening round, Davis landed a powerful right overhand to leave his opponent visibly hurt, resulting in the referee giving an eight count before officially calling the bout off halfway through the count and with just over a minute remaining in the second round.
Oumiha was a familiar opponent for Davis, as they went head-to-head at the 2019 Elite Men’s World Championships, with Davis taking that decision unanimously in those championships’ quarterfinals.
Davis will return to the ring on Tuesday, August 8 to face Russian Olympic Committee’s Gabil Mamedov. A victory over Mamedov will secure a medal for Davis and Team USA.
Two Americans, Duke Ragan (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Richard Torrez Jr. (Tulare, Calif.), will box in their quarterfinal bout tomorrow, where they will look to guarantee themselves a medal with winning performance.
Follow all of Team USA throughout Tokyo here.
Day 8 Results
63 kg: Keyshawn Davis, Norfolk, Va./USA, won by RSC over Sofiane Oumiha/FRA, RSC-2
On the punch that led to the referee’s stoppage just over two minutes into the second round:
“Before I threw the punch, I knew it was a close round. The first one (was) and the second one was still close. I was actually holding that punch back because I knew that that punch was going to make a difference throughout the rounds. I seen it, I’ve seen the punch there, and I did exactly what I was doing in practice, practicing it, and I landed it. I didn’t know it was going to get him out of there like that, or even hurt him, but it did so."
“When I was studying him from the first round, from the sparring that we had, he always keep his left hand sticking out. Every time he does his defense he always drops his hands. So I know that if I faint to the body, I already know he’s going to try and counter me, which he was doing from the first round into the second. So I knew it was time to throw that punch.”
On his actions during the eight count to see if OUMIHA would be able to keep fighting:
“I gave plenty of guys eight counts before, good guys and stuff like that, and honestly I got back into my pro (professional) ways when I started celebrating like that. I forgot where I was at for a quick second. But that’s why I started celebrating because I’ve seen how hurt he was, and when I seen that, even if they let the fight keep going, I knew I was going to get him out of there.”
On whether he was surprised the fight was stopped:
“No not really. I’ve been around amateurs long enough to know if you wobble just one time, they’re going to stop it. If you’re hurt, they’re going to stop it.”
“I wasn’t surprised because once I looked back after I was celebrating, I see that he wasn’t all the way there. An experienced guy like that knows how to keep it together as much as possible, but a fighter knows a fighter. He was still hurt.”
On the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games:
“I feel like this is my opportunity. I feel like I can’t let no competitor beat me or even come close to that. I’m just making sure throughout every fight that I’m putting on a good performance, I’m putting on a show, but I’m also having fun in the ring.”
On how much confidence the win gives him going into the next round:
“My confidence has already been high, but looking at my opponents right here, I don’t feel like they’re as good as (OUMIHA, who) was a 2016 silver medalist.”
“I’ve got no choice but to get gold. I’m getting gold, and that’s what I’m shooting for is getting gold.”
On fighting the No.1 seed in his second fight:
“They’ve given me these tougher opponents early. I feel kind of disrespected, like they’re trying to get me out of the tournament early, or that’s just how I take it to motivate myself to go into each one of these fights. But I don’t care if you gave me (world champion) Andy CRUZ (CUB) the first day, I was going to beat him and move onto the next day, and that’s how I felt coming into this tournament.”
On the significance of mental health for athletes:
“I feel like mental health played a big part, especially starting quarantine in 2020. A lot of people don’t know how to deal with quarantine and us elite athletes travel, we’re so busy so much that we never have time to deal with ourselves … I just hope the best for all these athletes, all these athletes that came here to compete in the Olympics.”
On his experiences with mental health challenges:
“I dealt with myself in the past and I’ve been growing from there ever since. I feel like it speaks for itself, me actually speaking out on it … I will say, I understand everybody that is going through mental health issues because I’ve been through the worst.”