Pick It: Gervonta Davis vs. Frank Martin, David Benavidez vs. Oleksandr Gvozdyk

When to Watch: Saturday, June 15. The main pay-per-view broadcast begins at 8 p.m. Eastern Time / 1 a.m. BST. 

The free prelims begin at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time / 10:30 p.m. BST.

How to watch: Pay-per-view streaming on Amazon’s Prime Video and PPV.com, and also available for purchase via traditional cable and satellite outlets. 

Why to Watch: The most popular American boxer is headlining his first show of 2024 — and is defending his lightweight title against an undefeated contender.

Gervonta Davis vs. Frank Martin is the third Premier Boxing Champions pay-per-view of the year in its new relationship with Amazon’s Prime Video. It is the seventh consecutive PPV for “Tank,” who has established himself as an attraction, an event, someone who sells tickets in cities throughout the United States. 

This show will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Sin City is where Davis’ last fight was, when he put rival Ryan Garcia down for the count with a body shot in the seventh round of their April 2023 collision. That fight brought Davis to 29-0 (27 KOs). 

The 29-year-old from Baltimore is coming off a 14-month layoff. Showtime — the network that worked with Davis and PBC all these years — exited the boxing business last year. Davis also said toward the end of 2023 that he was “getting my personal life together.”

He faces Martin, a 29-year-old from Indianapolis who is 18-0 (12 KOs). Martin impressed at the end of 2022 when he faced another unbeaten up-and-comer named Michel Rivera. Martin dropped Rivera and went on to take a wide unanimous decision. He had a tougher outing in his next appearance, a close unanimous decision over Artem Harutyunyan last July.

Martin is trained by Derrick James and promoted by Errol Spence. This is a huge step up for Martin but also a huge opportunity. A win would launch him forward by leaps and bounds. A competitive loss wouldn’t necessarily be a setback, given Davis’ reputation.

Of course, Davis is going to aim for another stellar win. He’s scored three straight stoppages. His last fight to go the distance, a close decision over Isaac Cruz in late 2021, was one in which Davis came in with a hand injury suffered in training camp. And Cruz’s success since then only makes Davis’ victory look even better in hindsight.

A win over Martin would be another good notch on his belt. 

Speaking of belts, this will be Davis’ first title defense as the WBA’s primary lightweight titleholder. In recent years he had held the secondary “regular” version while Devin Haney was the sanctioning body’s “super” titleholder. Haney has since departed the division. (Every time the WBA’s weirdness has to be explained, an angel loses its wings.) Davis is also a former junior lightweight titleholder.

And if Davis wins, the question then becomes whether Davis will remain at 135 and face any of the other titleholders and contenders there, or if he’ll return to 140, where he stopped Mario Barrios three years ago, given how stacked the junior welterweight division is at the moment. Davis has looked the complete package at times — speed, power and ring savvy — but it would be good to see him in with other top fighters. 

The co-headliner alongside Davis vs. Martin is a light heavyweight fight between Benavidez and Gvozdyk.

Benavidez, who’s long competed at super middleweight, isn’t moving up necessarily because of his body, but rather because of somebody.

That somebody is Canelo Alvarez, the undisputed 168-pound champion, who has shown no outward interest in defending against Benavidez, an undefeated former two-time titleholder  who remains widely regarded as the top challenger to Canelo’s reign.

There were a couple of other routes that could’ve been taken by Benavidez, a 27-year-old originally from Phoenix who now lives in Las Vegas. He could have fought another top contender in David Morrell. However, both Benavidez and Morrell are with PBC, and every promoter would rather have two promising fighters potentially heading toward big things rather than sacrificing one off unnecessarily.

And so Benavidez is taking on Gvozdyk for an interim world title, which will put the winner in line for the eventual undisputed light heavyweight champ, be it Artur Beterbiev or Dmitry Bivol. (Beterbiev-Bivol was originally supposed to take place on June 1 but, following a training camp injury to Beterbiev, has been rescheduled for October 12.)

Benavidez is coming off a 2023 in which he took a unanimous decision over one guy Canelo had beaten before, former titleholder Caleb Plant, and scored a TKO over another guy Canelo refused to face, Demetrius Andrade. That November win brought Benavidez to 28-0 (24 KOs).

Gvozdyk, who earned a bronze medal in the 2012 Olympics, went on to become lineal light heavyweight champion in the pros. He earned that recognition when he seized the throne from Adonis Stevenson in December 2018. Gvozdyk didn’t get to spend too long on top, however. He lost in his second defense, taken out in 10 by Beterbiev.

That was it for Gvozdyk, for a while at least. He retired in 2020; his manager said it was to pursue business opportunities. Gvozdyk returned to the ring last year, putting together three victories. The 37-year-old, who hails from Ukraine and now lives in Oxnard, California, is 20-1 (16 KOs).

We’ll see if Gvozdyk’s age is a factor or if him being a natural light heavyweight could pose some trouble for Benavidez. That second part is doubtful; Benavidez was huge for 168 and likely will fit in well at 175.

The rest of the televised undercard includes:

Gary Antuanne Russell vs. Alberto Puello: This fight is for the WBC’s interim belt at junior welterweight, for some reason. No matter the logic or lack thereof from the sanctioning body, the winner of Russell vs. Puello will be in position to challenge titleholder Devin Haney, and otherwise will have momentum to take on the many other names in the deep 140-pound weight class.

Russell, a 27-year-old from just outside of Washington, D.C., is one of the many fighting Gary Russells related to the former featherweight titleholder. His past three wins saw him stop Viktor Postol late in their February 2022 bout, get a controversial sixth-round stoppage over Rances Barthelemy in July 2022, and make easy work of Kent Cruz last August. Russell is now 17-0 (17 KOs).

Puello is also unbeaten at 22-0 (10 KOs). The 27-year-old, who originally hails from the Dominican Republic and now lives in Las Vegas, doesn’t have the recognizable names on his record that Russell does. Puello did take a split decision over Olympian Botirzhon Akhmedov in August 2022 and then, after nearly 16 months away, returned last December to outpoint prospect Ector Madera.

If Russell wins, he can move toward more established junior welterweights than Puello. And if Puello takes the victory, that will validate him as a true contender.

Carlos Adames vs. Terrell Gausha: Adames was only recently installed as the WBC middleweight titleholder after owning the interim belt for more than a year and a half. When the WBC finally stripped Jermall Charlo — who hadn’t defended the belt since June 2021 — Adames was elevated.

Adames is a 30-year-old originally from the Dominican Republic and now living in New York City. He suffered his only defeat against junior middleweight Patrick Teixeira in 2019 and moved up to 160 by the end of 2021, when he won a decision over Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Adames then knocked out Juan Macias Montiel in three rounds in 2022 and stopped Julian Williams in nine rounds in June 2023. His record is 23-1 (18 KOs).

Gausha is a 36-year-old former junior middleweight contender originally from Cleveland and now living outside of Los Angeles. He competed in the 2012 Olympics and turned pro afterward. In 2017, Gausha challenged titleholder Erislandy Lara and lost a unanimous decision. He fought to a draw with Austin Trout in 2019, came up short against Erickson Lubin in 2020, promptly dispatched Jamontay Clark in 2021, and lost a decision to Tim Tszyu in 2022. Two victories last year brought Gausha to 24-3-1 (12 KOs).

As for the free prelims, those will feature Elijah Garcia vs. Kyrone Davis, a fight that was originally slated to take place as a televised preliminary bout on the Tim Tszyu-Sebastian Fundora undercard. It was postponed when Garcia fell ill and withdrew a day or so before the bout.

Garcia is a 21-year-old middleweight prospect from Arizona with a record of 16-0 (13 KOs). Davis, who is 18-3-1 (6 KOs), brings experience against top-tier opposition; the 29-year-old from Delaware fought Anthony Dirrell to a draw in 2021, was stopped by David Benavidez later that year, didn’t fight at all in 2022, and then picked up two wins last year. 

The preliminary broadcast also includes a junior lightweight bout between Mark Magsayo, 25-2 (17 KOs), and Eduardo Ramirez, 28-3-3 (13 KOs). 

Magsayo upset Gary Russell Jr. for a featherweight belt in 2022 but lost it to Rey Vargas less than six months later. He also lost to Brandon Figueroa in March 2023, then moved up to 130 last December. Ramirez, a former featherweight contender, was knocked out by Isaac Cruz in two rounds at lightweight in 2022 and then returned last August with a TKO6 of Sebastian Diaz Maldonado.

And this show will kick off with a welterweight fight between Roiman Villa and Ricardo Salas Rodriguez. Villa, 26-2 (24 KOs), was last seen getting stopped by Jaron “Boots” Ennis in 10 rounds last July. Rodriguez is 19-2-2 (14 KOs).

More Fights to Watch

Saturday, June 14: Abass Baraou vs. Macaulay McGowan (DAZN, 2 p.m. Eastern Time)

Baraou is a junior middleweight on a six fight winning streak. In his last performance, the 29-year-old from Germany took a majority decision over Sam Eggington. That brought Baraou’s record to 15-1 (9 KOs). His lone loss came in 2020 via split decision against Jack Culcay.

McGowan has been up and down the scales, from welterweight to light heavyweight. He was a junior middleweight last October, a super middleweight this past March, and is coming back down to 154 for this bout. The 29-year-old from Manchester, England, is 20-4-2 (5 KOs). He’s won three in a row — against opponents with a combined record of 9-197-8 — since a May 2023 split decision loss to Tyler Denny. 

Indeed, only two of McGowan’s 20 wins have come against foes with winning records (19-5-1 combined). The combined records of his other 18 victims: 115-984-44. Some of McGowan’s other defeats came against familiar names: Kieron Conway in 2020 and an ancient comebacking Sergio Martinez in 2022.

Their fight will headline at the Bolton Whites Hotel. The undercard will feature unbeaten light heavyweight prospect Lerrone Richards, 18-0 (4 KOs), against Steed Woodall, 18-2-1 (11 KOs).

Saturday, June 14: Jose Andres Teran vs. Agustin Perez Balbuena (DAZN, 8 p.m. Eastern Time)

Note: While DAZN lists this for June 14, BoxRec lists this as taking place on June 15. 

Teran, a 24-year-old bantamweight and junior featherweight from Mexico, is 13-2 (9 KOs). Perez Balbuena, his 23-year-old countryman, is 13-3-1 (5 KOs).

Saturday, June 15: Chris Billiam-Smith vs. Richard Riakporhe 2 (Peacock, 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time / 7:30 p.m. BST)

Billiam-Smith and Riakporhe have met once before, back in 2019 when both were young British cruiserweight prospects, each with nine professional wins to their name. 

Riakporhe was the one with his hands raised that day, taking a split decision. Since then, Billam-Smith has gone on to win a world title while Riakporhe, still undefeated, is a contender looking to unseat him.

Billam-Smith, a 33-year-old who lives in Bournemouth, earned the WBO belt in May 2023 with a majority decision over Lawrence Okolie. He defended it in December, stopping Mateusz Masternak in the eighth. Masternak was ahead on two of the three judges’ scorecards at the time but had been hurt by Billam-Smith’s body shots, suffering a rib injury bad enough to call it a night. The victory brought Billam-Smith to 19-1 (13 KOs).

Riakporhe, a 34-year-old from London, is 17-0 (13 KOs). Last year he scored a pair of technical knockouts, finishing former titleholder Krzysztof Glowacki in four rounds and taking out Dylan Bregeon in two. There was talk of Riakporhe facing lineal cruiserweight champ Jai Opetaia last year. Instead, Riakporhe’s first title shot will come in his second fight with Billam-Smith.

“I know I’ve beat him before, but I don’t want to rest on past victories,” Riakporhe said in the build-up to this fight. “Things change. If you rest on past victories, it can give you a false sense of security and cloud your judgment… He’s become a world champion, and now it’s my time.”

Also on the show is the 2020 silver medalist Ben Whitaker, a light heavyweight with a record of 7-0 (5 KOs), who fights Eworitse Ezra Arenyeka, 12-0 (10 KOs). 

Saturday, June 15: Subriel Matias vs. Liam Paro (DAZN, 7 p.m. Eastern Time)

Matias will be making the second defense of his junior welterweight title, fighting in his native Puerto Rico for the first time in more than four-and-a-half years. He’ll face Paro in the main event at the Coliseo Juan Aubin Cruz Abreu in Manati.

Matias, a 32-year-old from Fajardo, was a rising prospect before suffering a surprising decision loss to Petros Ananyan in February 2020. But given Matias’ fan-friendly style, you knew he would be back. And he’s taken advantage of this second chance. 

Matias stopped a pair of unbeaten prospects in Malik Hawkins (TKO6) and Batyrzhan Jukembayev (TKO8), got revenge on Ananyan in their rematch (TKO9), and then took out previously undefeated Jeremias Ponce in February 2023 (TKO5) to win the IBF title that had been vacated by Josh Taylor. For his first defense, Matias had another early night against another unbeaten foe, finishing Shohjahon Ergashev in six rounds last November. That brought Matias to 20-1 (20 KOs).

Paro, a 28-year-old from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, is hoping to avoid becoming the next one. He is 24-0 (15 KOs) and would much rather have a “25” leading off his record rather than a “1” trailing it. Paro is coming off a pair of stoppage wins himself: a KO1 over Brock Jarvis in October 2022 and a KO6 of Montana Love this past December. 

Saturday, June 15: Roarke Knapp vs. Jorge Garcia Perez (StarBoxing.tv, 1 p.m. Eastern Time / 7 p.m. South African Standard Time)

Knapp, a 26-year-old junior middleweight, will once again be fighting in front of his home crowd at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park, South Africa. He has won eight straight since suffering his lone defeat in 2019, a seventh-round knockout at the hands of an 11-2-1 fighter named Brandon Thysse. Knapp and Thysse met again in 2022; this time Knapp edged a split decision. His last appearance was last September, a fifth-round stoppage of Przemyslaw Zysk that brought Knapp to 17-1-1 (12 KOs).

He faces Perez, a 27-year-old from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico. The most familiar name on Perez’s record is a wide loss to Carlos Ocampo in 2020. Perez’s last defeat came at the start of 2023, when he dropped a split decision to unbeaten Etoundi Michel William. Four victories since have brought Perez to 29-4 (24 KOs).

Saturday, June 15: Dylan Price vs. Ernesto Irias (TrillerTV.com, 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time)

Price is an undefeated bantamweight at 18-0 (12 KOs). Irias is 15-9-1 (9 KOs). This show takes place in Portland, Maine.

Saturday, June 15: Davide Brito vs. Maurice Horne (TrillerTV.com, 8 p.m. Eastern Time)

Brito, a heavyweight, is 4-0 (2 KOs). Horne is 6-1 (4 KOs). This show takes place in Richmond, Virginia.

Saturday, June 15: Imran Haddabah vs. TBA (TrillerTV.com, 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time)

Haddabah, a light heavyweight, is 12-0 (10 KOs). As this article went to press, no opponent was listed on BoxRec. This show takes place in Tampa, Florida.

Follow David Greisman on Twitter @FightingWords2. His book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” is available on Amazon.

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