Passion isn’t always discovered early on, but Kyrone Davis (15-2, 6 KOs) learned at a young age that he had a love for performing in more ways than one.
The 26-year-old Davis, who faces Anthony Dirrell (33-2-1, 24 KOs) in a PBC on FOX headliner on Saturday (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) at the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in Los Angeles, fell in love with the sweet science at the age of eight.
After attending one of his cousin’s boxing matches in New Jersey, Davis began training and competing himself once his family relocated to Delaware when he was 12.
Quickly finding success, Davis amassed a 91-9 overall record as an amateur while winning multiple national championships. He also earned a spot as an Olympic alternate on the 2012 USA Boxing Team.
“I’ve been boxing for a long time,” said Davis in an interview with Round By Round Boxing. “I think all of these experiences help me for the moments that I’m getting into. It was a great experience, and I’m pretty sure that it’s done a lot for me with growth.”
In addition to his love for boxing, though, Davis also developed a passion for music. From artists like Jay-Z, Nas and Biggie, to names like Michael Jackson and James Brown, Davis drew inspiration from all genres.
He’s now become a recording artist himself, known as “Ky Shut it Down,” and the love he has for producing music runs just as deep as his love for competing in the squared circle.
“I’ve been making music just as long as I’ve been boxing, and music has been a passion of mine,” said Davis. “I love music, and it’s something that drives me and something I’m looking to pursue.
“That’s just another part of who I am as a person. Music is just who I am, and boxing is who I am. In this life that I’m living, I’m just trying to showcase who I am in this world, and that doesn’t change when it comes to music.”
Boxing and music don’t always go hand-in-hand, but there are certainly some similarities between the two. Both being forms of entertainment, they require their participants to face challenges and rise to the occasion.
“When I get on the platforms, I’ve got to make sure that I’m performing, so this weekend I have to make sure that I perform and when it comes to the music side of it, I’ve got to make sure I deliver,” said Davis.
Delivering under the brightest of lights will be a focal point for Davis this week. Recently sanctioned as a WBC title eliminator at 168 pounds, the bout against Dirrell, a former two-time world champion, represents the stiffest test of his pro career.
As a professional with a record of 15-2, Davis has shown glimpses of what he can be in the ring training under respected coach Stephen “Breadman” Edwards, who he began working with towards the end of his amateur career.
One knock that has been made against Davis, however, is that, at times, he’s been inconsistent. He also hasn’t always been all that active either. In his last bout, he scored a TKO victory over Antonio Todd in January 2020. He only fought once each in 2018 and 2019, though. He also suffered disappointing losses to Junior Castillo in 2016 and the late Patrick Day in 2018.
“I don’t think I’ve been moving at an awful slow pace, but I don’t think it’s been super-fast either,” said Davis. ”But I think this is perfect timing. I’ve had some hiccups in my career that have only made me better. I’ve had many experiences. I’ve been in top-tier training camps, and I’ve been around the sport my whole life, so at 26 years old, I’m experienced as a fighter.”
Davis will also be moving up in weight to super middleweight for the first time, a weight Dirrell has spent his career competing at. While this may seem like a factor that could play a role on fight night, Davis says he feels better training closer to his walk-around weight.
“We’ve been training, and we’ve been working, and we’ve been sparring,” Davis said. “We’ve been getting a lot of good looks and bringing in some talented young fighters, and I’m confident. I’m confident in my ability, and I’m confident I’m going to get the job done.”
Winning a world title remains Davis’ top priority. A victory on Saturday would move him one step closer to that goal. It’s a tall order against the 36-year-old Dirrell, who, despite coming off a knockout loss to David Benavidez, is a prohibitive favorite to win on Saturday night. Yet Davis believes the timing is just right for an upset.
Just like with music, all he has to do is perform.
“He’s a former two-time world champion,” said Davis. “I think highly of Anthony Dirrell, but we won’t be going in the ring with any respect. He’s had a great career, but I think that there’s weaknesses in every fighter, and I just have to exploit them when I fight.
“I’m gonna put on a good show.”