OHARA DAVIES will make his American debut on the Ryan Garcia-Oscar Duarte undercard at the Toyota Centre in Houston on December 2.
The Briton will face 40-year-old Venezuelan battler Ismael Barroso, with the winner expected to then move on and face WBA super-lightweight belt holder Rolando “Rolly” Romero next year.
Davies’ form has impressively picked up in 2023, beginning in March when he travelled to Newcastle to knock out out Lewis Ritson in the ninth round. Four months later, the fighter known as “Two Tanks” was surprisingly announced as the latest addition to Oscar De La Hoya’s stable at Golden Boy Promotions. With manager Lee Eaton also batting for Davies, the power-puncher was soon handily placed in the WBA’s top 10 for a shot at Romero.
Boxing News spoke to Eaton and asked if Davies, 25-2 (18), would next fight Barroso, 24-4-2 (22) on the Garcia-Duarte bill in December.
“Yes,” he confirmed, “for the Interim championship.”
Romero won the full title by beating Barroso on May 13 in Las Vegas. The finish, however, left a bitter aftertaste. Having been dropped by a left hand in the third round, Romero found his way into a fight which didn’t exactly set pulses racing. Both men landed eye-catching shots and with the fight finely poised Barroso found himself down early in the ninth from a left hook followed by a push. Romero then threw five punches, which achieved nothing and certainly didn’t hurt Barroso, and referee Tony Weeks intervened and waved off the fight. At the time of the stoppage, the South American was ahead on all three judges’ scorecards.
Since then, Eaton has been campaigning to get Davies, now the mandatory challenger, a fight with Romero but has been left frustrated. The WBA had set a deadline of July 24 for purse bids to be lodged only for them to later postpone it. Romero then asked for a medical exemption which took until last month to be granted by the WBA and their Medical Committee. As compensation, then, the WBA have proceeded to order Davies-Barroso for an Interim bauble.
“He (Romero) has to fight us by March (20), or he gets stripped,” Eaton said.
Barroso’s record against British opposition stands at one win and one loss. In December 2015 a then-unknown Barroso travelled to London and sent Kevin Mitchell into retirement following a fifth-round stoppage victory. Five months later he was in Manchester but found himself in the middle of an Anthony Crolla hot-streak, with the Mancunian halting Barroso with a body shot finish in round seven.