U.S.’ top Olympic-level boxer disqualified from Tokyo consideration

Keyshawn Davis
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Keyshawn Davis, recently the U.S.’ top amateur male boxer, will not compete at the Tokyo Games.

Davis was removed from USA Boxing’s team for Olympic qualifying after violating athlete selection procedures, which disqualified him from Olympic participation, according to USA Boxing on Monday.

Davis, who now has a deal for his professional debut, according to a Wednesday report by The Athletic, did not respond to a message seeking comment.

USA Boxing did not detail the nature of the violation.

“Team USA molded me to fight better, stronger, faster and smarter than before,” Davis said in a video published on his social media on Wednesday. “Now it’s time to flip that next chapter.”

Davis is believed to be the first medal-contending U.S. athlete across all sports who would have likely made a 2020 Olympic team to be ruled out of the Tokyo Games in 2021 (Basketball player Klay Thompson is likely out, too, after an Achilles tear.).

Last spring, Davis said he weighed turning professional — and giving up his Olympic ambitions — following the Tokyo Olympic postponement to 2021. He ultimately declined offers and remained in the USA Boxing Olympic pool at the time.

Looking at the bigger picture, I felt it was a better decision for me,” Davis, a world championships silver medalist in the lightweight division, said in April. “I get a chance to develop myself even more, gaining a bigger platform going into the Olympics. I’ll be just that bigger of a fighter. Coming out [going pro in 2021], I should be a bigger star than I was going to be [in 2020].”

Davis, 21, is the middle brother in a set of fighters (older Kelvin and younger Keon). His silver at 2019 Worlds matched the best Olympic or world finish for a U.S. male boxer since 2007. Andre Ward was the last U.S. man to win an Olympic boxing title in 2004.

While boxing opened a qualification path for professionals for the Rio Olympic cycle, the world’s top fighters didn’t cross over.

One of Davis’ role models is 2016 Olympic bantamweight silver medalist Shakur Stevenson. They’ve known each other since their early teens. Stevenson brought Davis to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs as a sparring partner before the Rio Games.

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