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Gervonta Davis ready to defend his title against Liam Walsh in enemy territory

Gervonta Davis will have Floyd Mayweather's support as he defends his title against Liam Walsh Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Often when a fighter wins a world title, the play is to come home as a conquering hero to make a defense in front of an adoring hometown crowd. That kind of event is as much about celebrating the title victory as it is about the fight at hand.

Junior lightweight world titleholder Gervonta "Tank" Davis, however, is doing exactly the opposite.

Davis, who looked spectacular in an exciting seventh-round knockout of Jose Pedraza to claim a 130-pound world title on Jan. 14 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, will not be making his initial defense at home in Baltimore, where he would surely draw a crowd.

Instead, Davis will face England's Liam Walsh, the mandatory challenger and a fellow southpaw, at the Copper Box Arena in London on Saturday (Showtime, 6 p.m. ET) in the first fight of a split-site, two-continent quadrupleheader.

Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe, who promotes the Floyd Mayweather protégé Davis, said he will eventually fight in Baltimore, but that the offer for him to defend against Walsh in London was the right deal to make.

"We think this is a wonderful opportunity and a tremendous platform for him to be able to showcase his skills across the world," Ellerbe said. "With him being a young champion, I think he has an advantage, and working alongside someone like Floyd, someone who can explain to him what it's like to go into hostile territory and what to expect coming into a big fight.

"All those intangibles, along with his hard work and preparation he's done, I think he has a tremendous advantage and has the perfect team in his corner to get the job done."

At age 22, Davis, a dynamic fighter with speed and power in both hands, is the youngest world titleholder from the United States and the second-youngest in all of boxing to Japan's Kosei Tanaka, a 21-year-old junior flyweight titlist, who also defends his belt on Saturday.

Despite his youth, Davis (17-0, 16 KOs) is treating his overseas trip with maturity and sees it as a great opportunity.

"I believe it was the right business move as far as getting me to the U.K. in my early career and giving the fans what they want to see," Davis said. "I have a lot of U.K. fans after the Pedraza fight, so I think it's a good change. It's good for me to fight in the U.K. I fought overseas when I was an amateur so now I'm going as a pro and I feel like it's a great opportunity.

"I'm actually excited to fight in the U.K. I believe that I will have a crowd over there and I'm excited to put on a show for the U.K. fans."

Ellerbe compared Davis' trek to enemy territory to the one that Mayweather made in 2005, when he went to Arturo Gatti's base in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to challenge for his junior welterweight belt.

Mayweather was the favorite, as Davis is against Walsh, but he still had to get the job done, which he did in emphatic fashion as he stopped Gatti in the sixth round of a one-sided fight

"This is similar to back in 2005 when Floyd went into Atlantic City and beat Arturo Gatti, but this is a little different in that, as Tank mentioned, he has a lot of fans in the U.K. Tank has a tremendous social media presence and a tremendous following in the U.K.," Ellerbe said. "As far as the crowd is concerned, I'm not so sure it's going to be all Liam Walsh. Tank is going to have a lot of support there. And, again, when you have the kind of preparation he has had, and you are focused, that's what it's going to come down to.

"We are very comfortable with the judges and we expect a very level playing field. Tank just has to go in there and stay focused and do what he does. I think his skills will speak loud and clear."

Davis spent the later stages of his training camp in Las Vegas at Mayweather's gym, where he said he worked closely with the retired former pound-for-pound king. He said it was intense work that will have him more than ready to deal with the 30-year-old Walsh (21-0, 14 KOs).

"When I got back to Vegas, Floyd Mayweather was hands on more than usual, working with me in the gym late nights," Davis said. "I'm working extra hard. Having him back in the gym gives me that extra push and has my mind on another level.

"Having him in my corner makes me feel like I have that chance. I have one of the best in the business backing me. It means a lot. It makes me work harder."

Gervonta Davis on Floyd Mayweather

Walsh has a thin resume, but Davis' isn't all that strong either other than the win over Pedraza. Walsh easily outpointed steppingstone opponent Andrey Klimov in an eliminator in October to earn the title shot. He also owns a 10-round decision win against long-faded former featherweight titlist Scott Harrison and sounds confident.

"[Davis] certainly has potential and star quality - that was clear to see when he beat Pedraza. But he has to come through me first," Walsh said. "I don't see any other way than me winning. If he's going to be a star in the future, it's going to have to be with a loss after fighting me.

"I feel like I've been in tougher fights than him. I feel like I've been in longer fights. I think I have a better boxing IQ than him. He's very powerful, very physical and very fast, but we haven't seen him in a long fight or a dog fight or a grueling fight though. I will certainly ask all these questions. I'll do it any which way that it has to go. I'm more than confident I'll get the job done."

"Everyone is looking for the next big thing," said Frank Warren, Walsh's promoter. "Is [Davis] overrated? We will find out. I know one thing is for sure -- Liam is underrated. And that's going to be the difference."

Davis said he is taking nothing for granted, even though the speed, skill and power difference between the two figures to be quite obvious.

"He's a good fighter. I can't take that away from him," Davis said. "He's my mandatory so I'm taking him seriously. I've actually looked at a couple of his fights. He's a decent fighter, but I'm just on another level. My mind, my skills, I'm on another level than what he's saying and what his fans are saying too.

"I'm coming out on top and keeping my world title."