The ultra-talented amateur standout is primed to silence his doubters when he faces two-time champion Anthony Dirrell Saturday night on FOX PBC Fight Night.
The beaming sunburst through the windshield was a good portent. It caused Kyrone Davis to put his hand up and squint. That’s when his cell phone rang. He was driving home down I-95 one winter afternoon from a routine training session when he received the greatest news of his boxing career.
Davis, 26, had been waiting for this moment his whole life and he greeted it with a simple, knowing nod. He’s a fighter. It’s expected. That’s what fighters do—they fight. Davis simply said to himself, “Let’s do this.”
There was no yelling. No screaming. No beeping his horn in adulation. No slamming his steering wheel.
That’s how Davis welcomed the opportunity to fight former two-time WBC world super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell (33-2-1, 24 KOs) this Saturday night in the 12-round main event on FOX PBC Fight Night (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) from the Time Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall, in Los Angeles, California.
“I remember my father (Darone) called about taking the fight, and we spoke briefly, and he told me let’s sleep on it, and I remember telling him, ‘No, let’s take it,’” Kyrone recalled. “I remember my dad was confident in my ability, and I remember talking to Steve (‘Breadman’ Edwards, his trainer) and he thought I could beat (Dirrell), too.
“I didn’t win the Super Bowl; I didn’t win the lottery. I remember sitting in the car thinking to myself, ‘It’s time to work; I have this.’”
The 5-foot-10 Davis (15-2, 6 KOs) has won his last two fights. Dirrell will be, by far, his toughest opposition.
But Davis notes that this is a different Kyrone Davis than fans have seen in the past. This is a more mature version of what he used to be. He’s a stronger, confident fighter who knows he has every right to be in the ring with Dirrell, who is coming off the first stoppage loss of his career when he dropped the WBC title to David Benavidez by ninth-round TKO in September 2019.
In the past, Davis struggled with weight, allowing himself to get heavy in between fights. That forced him to cut too much in a short period of time to make weight.
If anyone or anything got in his way—it was him. Davis saw what he needed to correct.
“My approach to fighting has changed; it had to change,” Davis said. “I have a plan and it comes down to mindset and maturity. Honestly, I feel like at this point, I needed things to take a little longer to click.
“Some people start off really fast, no matter what it is, and then they fade. I’m a late bloomer. Early in my career, I thought I had it figured out. I do now. I need to be my best when my best is needed.”
“ I’m a late bloomer. Early in my career, I thought I had it figured out. I do now. ” Super Middleweight Contender - Kyrone Davis
Davis has been in training camps with Gennadiy Golovkin, Demetrius Andrade, Adrien Broner and Erickson Lubin. He always performed well against them. Davis’ last loss came as a super welterweight to the late Patrick Day in March 2018.
“I learned a lot from that fight, because I took things for granted,” Davis said. “Four or five weeks out, I was 192 pounds. I got down to 154 in a month. If you watch the fight, you’ll notice I was really getting off. But as the fight went on, I started to fade.
“My body couldn’t take the rapid weight loss. No excuses. Patrick Day, God rest his soul, deserved to win that fight. But after that fight, I didn’t know whether or not I would get back into the ring again. I was in a bad mental state. I didn’t understand where I was. I had to heal a lot of self-doubt.”
Edwards knows Davis well, so the veteran Philadelphia trainer left him alone. For over a year, Davis shut boxing out of his life.
“I was disappointed in myself, and then I gradually began going back to the gym, I began engineering music, recording people and I started personal training and that started to get a little twinkle going,” Davis said. “When I was working out other people, I started feeling it again. I had to get back in the ring. I discovered I love it. I’ve always been committed to the things that I love to do.”
Davis’ return, however, would not come without a stipulation. Edwards gave Davis orders he was not to return unless he was 178 pounds. The weight loss was creating too much of a strain on his body. The next step was getting Davis into a training camp, so Edwards arranged Davis to spar with Lubin in the summer of 2019 in preparation for Lubin’s Nathaniel Gallimore fight.
“Kyrone is a really, really talented fighter who’s a little under the radar,” Edwards said. “He’s ready for this spot. Kyrone had been suffering making 154 and 160. Losing the weight had taken its toll. In a lighthearted way, Kyrone was a knucklehead who used to get in his own way.
“Kyrone would admit that himself. Kyrone has been in the ring with world champions. He won’t be over his head with Dirrell. Kyrone has a ton of ability and I wouldn’t have taken this fight if I didn’t think he could win. He’s going to be strong and he’s going to do well.”
In this camp, Edwards has seen Davis embrace uncomfortable zones.
“That’s because Kyrone realizes that if he wins, he’s going to have six- and seven-figure paydays ahead,” Edwards said. “If he wins, this changes his life. This is a huge opportunity for him and he’s shown a lot of maturity. Kyrone needs this. He needs to feel what it’s like to be on a big show, and he needs to hear people say he’s going to lose—and prove them wrong.
“I have a lot of respect for Anthony Dirrell and his team. I’m telling you—Kyrone is coming to fight and we’re going to see.”
For a closer look at Kyrone Davis, check out his fighter page.