Terrell Gausha Draws From Deep Well of Inspiration For Upcoming Title Bout

Unbeaten 154-pound contender will carry former trainer's principles into the ring with him Saturday night when he faces champion Erislandy Lara in the main event of a 154-pound title tripleheader on Showtime.

Terrell Gausha

Unbeaten 154-pound contender Terrell Gausha lands a blow in his August 2016 victory over Steve Martinez. The Cleveland native fights for his first world title Saturday night on Showtime. (Andy Samuelson/Premier Boxing Champions)

When Terrell Gausha challenges champion Erislandy Lara for a 154-pound championship on Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, his inspiration will be to honor a fallen mentor and father figure.

Bob Davis introduced a 10-year-old Gausha to boxing at the Glenville Recreation Center in Cleveland, stepping in two years after the youngster’s father, Melton, died of heart failure. Gausha was deprived of a male role model to help him navigate the crime-ridden neighborhood.

While Gausha’s mother, Taretha Jones, instilled discipline and perseverance, Davis guided Gausha to five Cleveland Golden Gloves titles and a pair of amateur national crowns. Gausha went on to represent the United States in the 2012 Olympics in London and is now on the threshold of winning his first professional world championship.

At the Olympics, Gausha scored a third-round knockout over Armenia’s Andranik Hakobyan in the first round of the games before being eliminated, 16-15, by India’s Vijender Singh, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist.

Davis died of an illness in 2015. That same year Gausha won four bouts to improve to 17-0 with eight knockouts as a professional. A 2005 graduate of Glenville High School, Gausha credits Davis for saving his life.

“I missed time with my father, but my mother was a great example working 32 years at Chrysler starting at the age of 19 before retiring. Bob Davis came and got me every day, took me to church, taught me about life,” said Gausha, who has a 9-year-old daughter, Ty’era, and fiancé, Christa Kondru

“He taught me principles, to channel my anger, frustrations, energy and helped me to believe in myself. Watching me put that belt around my waist would mean the world to him. He’s always on my mind. I wish he was here to see me. I know he’d be proud.”

Gausha (20-0, 9 KOs) challenges Lara (24-2, 14 KOs), a 34-year-old making his sixth defense, in the headliner of a 154-pound championship tripleheader featuring defenses by Jarrett Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs) against left-handed former champion Austin Trout (30-3, 17 KOs) and Jermell Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs) against left-hander Erickson Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs) on Showtime (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).

“I’ve always paid homage to my coach,” said Gausha. “I pay tribute wearing the black and red colors of the uniform for the Glenville Recreation Center and I have Glenville written on my mouthpiece.”

Bob Davis taught me principles, to channel my anger, frustrations, energy and helped me to believe in myself. Watching me put that belt around my waist would mean the world to him. 154-pound contender Terrell Gausha, on his mentor and former trainer

Gausha is looking forward to fighting in the main event for a world championship at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

“As a human being, you’re gonna have some nerves, want to engage, prove yourself and put on a good show, but I’m focused rather than being anxious and feeling pressure,” said Gausha, who is now trained by Manny Robles. “We’ve worked for this moment. I’m looking forward to embracing the atmosphere, executing my game plan and making some new fans. I can’t be overwhelmed as the main event.”

Gausha’s past two victories were majority and unanimous decisions over Steve Martinez (August 2016) and Luis Hernandez (February), following a seventh-round stoppage of Orlando Lora (April 2016).

Gausha last faced a southpaw in July 2014, his first round stoppage of Ronnie Warrior Jr. improving his mark to 11-0 with six knockouts. He sparred Ukrainian 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Taras Shelestyuk (16-0, 10 KOs), power-punching Chris Pearson (14-2, 10 KOs) of Dayton, Ohio, and South African Chris van Heerden (25-2-1, 12 KOs).

“I’ve gotten different looks preparing for a Lara’s craftiness, but nobody’s going to emulate his style, completely. I’ll have to be smart and bring out more tools than in the past,” said Gausha.

Gausha draws inspiration in his first title fight from his Olympic teammates who have won world championships–Errol Spence and Rau’shee Warren.

“We’ve always talked about winning world titles," said Gausha. "It's inspiring for Errol Spence and Rau’Shee Warren to accomplish their dreams. A few of my teammates, like [175-pound contender] Marcus Brown, will be ringside to support me.”

Lara’s resume includes stopping ex-titleholders Alfredo Angulo and Jan Zaveck, decisions over Trout and ex-champ Ishe Smith, title challengers Vanes Martirosyan, Delvin Rodriguez and Freddy Hernandez, and losing by majority and split-decision to former two-division titleholders Paul Williams and Canelo Alvarez.

“It doesn’t matter that fans doubt me after seeing Lara against bigger names,” said Gausha. “Being the underdog motivates me. I have everything to gain and nothing to lose. I want to keep my ‘0,’ become a world champion and establish my legacy.”

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