Kyrone Davis is trying to introduce himself to boxing fans in a big way when he steps up in weight to challenge former champion Anthony Dirrell.
When the boxing bout between former two-time WBC super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell and little known Kyrone Davis was announced, not many believed that Davis stood a chance against Dirrell.
They probably still don’t.
However, when you learn more about Davis’s story, you might start to reconsider that position.
Davis (15-2, 6 KOs) believes that’s there’s more to him than just his record. Once you look at his life collectively, you realize the Davis has spent most of his days in the sport of boxing.
Davis started boxing at the age of eight. Growing up in Wilmington, Delaware, the boxing ring was Davis’s safeguard from the dangers of drugs and violence that surrounded him for much of his adolescence.
He didn’t always like the training, but Davis enjoyed winning, which meant that he had to keep grinding in the gym. Davis found a lot of success as an amateur, especially later in his teens. He fought in 150 amateur bouts and won two national championships.
“So I knew training was the only way to get to a level of competitiveness, but when I was young, I was so good that I didn’t have to do a lot of training,” Davis told FanSided. “So I mean, I train hard, but I would say it was weeks where I barely been training out as we go through the fight. So my talent would pour-over, but when you get older, this is the thing where, you know, the talent level starts to tighten up a lot, and to get over the hump, you have to dedicate yourself.”
In 2014, Davis made his professional debut, stopping his opponent in the first round. He had trainer Stephen “Breadman” Edwards in his corner, who has been with him ever since. Edwards has developed several gifted boxers, including Julian Williams.
Edwards’ wisdom makes him a great trainer, but his belief in Davis is what strengthened his bond with Davis.
“He paid attention to details,” said Davis. “He’s very passionate, so working together it’s always passionate sessions, and he believes in me, you know. He really believes in me.”
Edwards wasn’t the only one that believed in Davis’s potential. After winning his second fight, famed boxing manager and head of PBC Al Haymon came calling.
“I started working with Al Haymon after my second pro fight,” recalled Davis. “They’ve given me a lot of opportunities, including this one.”
Everything was going right for Davis. He had an amazing trainer and arguably the most powerful promoter in his corner. After his second professional bout, Davis rattled off eight straight wins. But then he lost in 2016 to Junior Castillio.
Kyrone Davis believes that he’s going to win the day and make his name known when he fights Anthony Dirrell
Davis lost again four fights later to Patrick Day. Suddenly, the young boxer with a strong amateur pedigree and high hopes had two losses on his record. Davis has an explanation for what went wrong.
“I think after the Patrick Day fight, I kinda felt burnt out just because the way I trained for the fight wasn’t properly done,” admitted Davis. “I’ve tried to lose a bunch of weight real fast. “When the fight was presented to me, I wasn’t really where I should’ve been.”
Much like when he was younger, Davis slacked a bit on the training. Reading between the lines, it seems like Davis tried to once again rely on his talent and didn’t put in the work needed to beat higher-caliber opponents.
After the Day loss, Davis didn’t fight again for almost a year and a half. Much like Adrien Broner, Davis needed a break from boxing. For a second, he thought about hanging his gloves up.
“I think I took a moment where I didn’t know if I wanted to keep doing it,” said Davis. “I could fight, and I was in there. I didn’t know if I wanted to continue to box. I think it was just a moment where you just question some things. I think it’s natural. That’s why I took that a little bit of time off to kind of regroup.”
Time is exactly what Davis needed. As the old saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and fortunately, that proved true with Davis and his passion for boxing.
Davis is riding a two-fight winning streak, and now he has the biggest fight of his life against Dirrell on Saturday, Feb. 27, on FOX. There are a lot of factors working against him.
Dirrell (33-2-1, 24 KOs) has much more experience than Davis. He’s 4 inches taller and is a seasoned super middleweight where Davis is making his division debut.
Strangely, the oddsmakers are seeing Davis as a massive underdog. Most have him slightly under 3-1 odds. Maybe they’re doing their research and seeing the same intangibles that Edwards and Haymon see in Davis.
Dirrell thinks, like most, that Davis is out of his league.
“I think Davis bit off more than he can chew,” said Dirrell in a recent media call. “He’s good, but I’m in a different bracket.”
Dirrell might want to be careful because 2021 is quickly turning into the year of the upset. Oscar Valdez took out Miguel Berchelt, David Avanesyan defeated Josh Kelly, and Mauricio Lara stunned Josh Warrington. Could Davis extend that streak?
He thinks so.
“It’s just the game, you know,” said Davis. “It’s always been the game. You’ve always had upsets. It’s always been the game, and boxing is very unpredictable, what can happen in the ring.”
Watch Anthony Dirrell vs. Kyrone Davis on Saturday, Feb. 27, on FOX at 8 p.m. ET. You can view the prelims on FS1 starting at 7 p.m. ET.