Richard Quiñones (Journeymen Boxing) – LeRoy Davila, who had a brilliant amateur career, will make his much-anticipated pro debut when he takes on Dominic Whitehurst Friday May 27th, at the Claridge in Atlantic City, New Jersey in a four-round bantamweight affair.
Davila, a native of New Brunswick, amassed over 60 amateur fights in his career and was ranked second in the U.S. in his respected weight class. The 27-year-old scored a nice win against rising teen Dylan Price as he captured the 108 lb. open title at the 2015 New Jersey Golden Gloves tournament last. He did not compete in the 2016 tourney and fell just short of making the 2016 US Boxing team.
Despite the recent heartbreak, Davila has a positive but realistic outlook going forward — however long it might be.
“I feel pretty good, I am just ready to get the first one out of the way,” he said to JMB on Tuesday.
“Training camp was good, really this is my first time training since last year. I started working so I really did not train enough for the Trials, or Qualifiers, or the Golden Gloves nationals. So this is my first time really training.”
To his credit, the honest Davila believes he should be fighting in the Olympics this summer.
“To be honest, I really did not want to turn pro, I always wanted the Olympics, I sold myself short in the amateurs, only because I have a family, kids to take care of, I could not put my whole time in boxing. I was working up to 85 hours a week, it took away a lot of my training, so I sold myself short,” he added.
“I should be in the Olympics right now, but I put my family first not my career, so I told myself I am supposed to do more in boxing. Not enough people know me, its more then just boxing. I want people to know me as a person. I want to help the youth more, its not really about boxing it is just a stepping stone. I want to help people when it is all said and done, so I will enjoy this.”
Davila has the luxury of being signed to a promotional contract with GH3 Promotions, which typically likes to move fighters at a fast pace.
However, Davila knows that it is not going to take 20-25 fights to via for a title, especially at 118lbs, so this could be a good fit.
“I like to get in six to eight fights by the end of this year,” Davila said. “I want to set myself up, so around the end of 2017, maybe beginning of 2018 I set myself up for a title fight.”
Davila is also realistic when he asses his style right now.
“I need to work on the inside a lot more, get in and out as fast as I can. I can’t let them (opponents) keep me on the end of their punches, I have to use head movement, pretty much the same thing in the amateurs.”
Whitehurst, out of Ohio, will also be making his pro debut is much taller than the 5′”2 Davila, who will turn 28 in July.
“I know he is like 5’8″ and a southpaw,” he said laughing, “I was like come on, come on man. I know I will have to get inside and get in and get out.”
Davila has won so many awards it is hard to keep up with all of them, but several stand out, such as the 2013 and 2014 USA Boxing National Champion, and 2012 National PAL Champion as well as the 2012 National Golden Gloves Champion and 2012 USA Boxing National Championships Silver Medalist.
Friday will be his first test as a pro when he takes on Whitehurst, but whether he wins or loses, he already has made an impact on the sport.
“I am old, not young, I have a couple years left in this game, my body took enough abuse, I am not the one that can keep fighting until I am 37-38 years-old. I just want to make a difference outside the ring too. I want to help people, help single mothers, help the youth, maybe get into acting more, public speaking. So I know at least I am going into this the way I want and on my terms.”