Junior lightweight world titleholder Gervonta “Tank” Davis could be back in the ring as soon as April — but not for an official fight.
Instead, Davis could follow the lead of his promoter, Floyd Mayweather, and go to Japan for a boxing exhibition against Japanese kickboxing star Tenshin Nasukawa, whom Mayweather destroyed in the first round of their scheduled three-round New Year’s Eve boxing exhibition at the Saitama Prefecture Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, about a half-hour drive outside of Tokyo.
Davis retained his 130-pound world title for the first time via first-round knockout of former junior featherweight world titlist Hugo Ruiz, a late replacement for the injured Abner Mares, on Saturday night at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
During a scrum with reporters after the fight, Mayweather, with Davis at his side, said that the 24-year-old Baltimore fighter would head to Japan to face Nasukawa in a boxing exhibition this spring.
“We got an exhibition bout with the guy Tenshin in Japan in April,” Mayweather said.
Surprised media members asked Mayweather for a clarification and he responded, “Yes, he’s fighting Tenshin in an exhibition bout in Japan.”
Mayweather did not offer any other details, such as the specific location, date, number of rounds, or contract weight, but he said the exhibition would be put on in conjunction with the Rizin Fighting Federation, the same Japanese combat sports promoter that put on his Dec. 31 match with Nasukawa.
“I’m proud of Tank, and he’s gonna stay active,” Mayweather said. “April is Tenshin. May is the real fight.”
Mayweather Promotions has plans to bring Davis home to Baltimore for a summer title defense, but Mayweather did not mention where specifically the May fight would take place or against whom.
“We don’t know,” he said when asked who Davis would fight in his second defense. “When I get back, I’ll talk to my staff, my team, sit down with [Mayweather Promotions CEO] Leonard [Ellerbe], [adviser] Al [Haymon], the rest of my staff and see what we come up with.”
Davis (21-0, 20 KOs) did not say anything about the exhibition with Nasukawa, who at least is closer in size to Davis than he is to Mayweather. To fight Mayweather, Nasukawa moved up from is natural 126-pound featherweight division to the 147-pound welterweight division. Davis fights at 130 pounds.
Mayweather came out of a two-year retirement to face UFC star Conor McGregor in a boxing match in August 2017 and knocked him out in the 10th round in the second-highest grossing fight in history. Then Mayweather, 41, returned 16 months later for the exhibition with the 20-year-old Nasukawa, who had no experience as a boxer despite his success as a kickboxer. Mayweather needed only a little over two minutes to lay waste to Nasukawa, who suffered three knockdowns and left the ring in tears after the fight.
Mayweather said that he earned $9 million — plus a $1 million bonus — for the exhibition with Nasukawa and said he would likely participate in future exhibition fights.
“Probably so, most likely,” Mayweather said. “I got about $80 million on the table worth of exhibitions.”