Keyshawn Davis reminded the boxing world of why he has been tabbed as the best shot at bringing home Gold for the U.S. Olympic boxing team.
The 22-year old American advanced in the opening round of lightweight competition after soundly outpointing Netherland’s Enrico La Cruz over three rounds Sunday afternoon local time at Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo.
Davis won every round on all five scorecards, including having earned two 10-8 rounds on the card of judge Karn Naklam (Thailand).
Davis primarily worked his jab in the opening round, setting up virtually any punch he wished to throw. La Cruz struggled to keep pace, with most of the first round spent as a reminder of Davis’ previous win in their November 2018 meeting.
A steady stream of jabs and right hands found their way home for Davis, who kept it clean and straight down the middle. La Cruz attempted to cut off the ring and bring a more aggressive approach in round two. Davis quickly adapted, playing defense both from the outside and through smothering La Cruz’s punches at close quarters.
Davis will now move on to the Round of 16. Awaiting the American is France’s Sofiane Oumiha, the 2016 Olympic Silver medalist and number-one seed at lightweight. While a tough draw at first glance, Davis owns two wins over Oumiha—strengthening the claim of his boasting the best chance of being the first U.S. male to win Gold since Andre Ward did so in 2004.
The dream nearly didn’t happen for Davis, who was initially removed from the U.S. Olympic squad earlier this year after failing to report to mandatory training camp. Davis reportedly clashed with the coaching staff and—coupled with the year-long delay due to the pandemic—decided to instead turn pro.
Davis is currently 3-0 as a pro, with two wins coming on the undercard of high-profile events headlined by Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. He is now back to being the star attraction, forcing the world to take notice on Sunday.
With the win, Davis joins teammates Duke Ragan and Delante Johnson in winning opening round bouts. The U.S. Olympic boxing team is currently 3-1 in Tokyo.