World championship boxer Gervonta Davis, who was born and raised in West Baltimore, will now be greeting travelers coming into or past the city on I-95.
South Baltimore-based athletic apparel company Under Armour announced yesterday that it’s signed Davis to an endorsement deal, making the big reveal with a billboard boasting his name, image and the proud text, “Baltimore’s Own.” According to the Sun‘s Jeff Barker, the billboard is the same one that has long sported Olympian swimmer Michael Phelps’ face (and before him, Ravens legend Ray Lewis) off of I-95 near exit 51.
Hometown photographer Devin Allen, who works for the company, tweeted that the image plastered on the sign off the interstate actually came from his camera.
My photograph of @Gervontaa is on a billboard in Baltimore https://t.co/q12Uhh7CDF
— Devin | Allen (@byDVNLLN) May 24, 2017
The announcement came four days after the 5’6” boxer known also as “Tank” defended his super featherweight International Boxing Federation title in London with a third-round knockout of previously unbeaten opponent Liam Walsh. The win gave him a pristine 18-0 career record dating back to 2013, and marked his first professional victory abroad.
Davis famously grew up in Upton and trains at the neighborhood’s namesake Upton Boxing Center. The gym and his coaches, Calvin Ford and Kenny Ellis, were profiled a few months ago in The New York Times. Davis is a known mentee of world-famous retired boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and is signed to his company, Mayweather Promotions.
Under Armour’s not-so-subtle social media activity in the last couple weeks may have given the announcement away. Clips and photos posted to the brand’s Twitter account starting May 15 touted Davis’ mercurial rise to boxing stardom, his intense training regimen and his hometown support.
The company also celebrated his victory right away, though that could have just been interpreted as a sign of homerism.
You knew he was coming! 18-0.
Congrats @Gervontaa! #IWILL pic.twitter.com/KYe3Wf7brX
— Under Armour (@UnderArmour) May 20, 2017
Terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed. The company already has Davis on its website marketing its “Pursuit” collection of performance apparel.
Big congrats from all in Baltimore, Gervonta. See you on the interstate.