Inducted on November 12, 1998
Amateur record: 120-5, 55 KOs Pro record: 39-6, 17 KOs
Four-time NY Golden Gloves champ (’73-’76) Three-time NY Metropolitan champ (74-’76)
First World Amateur Champion, 1974, Havana, Cuba (first American boxer to win it) Two-time National AAU champion (’73, ’76)
1976 Olympic Gold Medalist, Montreal
Winner of Val Barker Award for the Outstanding Boxer of the 1976 Olympics. One of the trainers for ISF cruiserweight champ Imamu Mayfield
Personal trainer at New York Sports Clubs in Old Bridge, N.J.
When Howard was just 15 years old, he saw Muhammad Ali on the big screen in a movie called “A.K.A. Cassius Clay”. He was inspired. The very next day he took his first step toward an Olympic dream, dedicating his life to boxing.
The 5’10” Davis received his first boxing lessons from his father, Howard Sr., who had been a pretty good amateur fighter in his day, and even had a few bouts as a pro. Father taught son well. Young Howard started wading through Golden Gloves opponents with ease. Before long he had piled up four Golden Gloves titles, two national AAU championships and annexed a world amateur crown in the 125-pound featherweight class. Davis was maturing both as a fighter and physically. By the time he was 19 years old, late in 1975, he could no longer make the 125-pound class and moved up to the lightweight class with a 132- pound limit.
The transition was not without its difficulties, but Davis had confidence and a goal. He wanted to be an Olympic champion and gold medal winner. A tragic incident almost deprived him of the chance. Just three days before his first bout at the Montreal Olympics in 1976, Howard received word that his mother had died. He wanted to return home for the funeral, but his family convinced him to stay and try to win the title for the memory of his mother and everything she had sacrificed for him. After agonizing for hours, Howard stayed in Montreal, determined to prove it meant something. He won his gold medal, gaining a unanimous decision over European champion Simon Cutov of Rumania. Davis was so dazzling that he was voted the Outstanding Boxer of any weight class during the Olympics.
After the Olympics, he embarked on a brilliant professional career, during which he amassed a record of 39 wins, 6 losses with 17 KOs. Now he is being inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame.
Howard Edward Davis, Jr. (born February 14, 1956) is a retired world-class American amateur and professional boxer. Growing up on Long Island as the eldest of 10 children, Davis first learned boxing from his father. After being inspired by a movie about Muhammad Ali, Davis embarked on his amateur career. He won the 1976 Olympic gold medal one week after his mother died. He was also awarded the “Val Barker Trophy at the Olympics, beating out such boxers Sugar Ray Leonard, Michael Spinks and Leon Spinks.
He turned professional after the Olympics and went on to a professional record of 36–6–1 with 14 knockouts. He retired in 1996. As of 2009, he works as boxing director at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida, where he trains both amateur and professional boxers and MMA fighters. He is also a motivational speaker and a musician.
As an amateur, Davis was trained by his father, a former boxer. He had an outstanding amateur career. In 1976, Davis won the Olympic gold medal in the lightweight division in Montreal, Canada. Davis was also named the Outstanding Boxer of the 1976 Olympics and given the Val Barker Trophy. His Olympic teammates included Sugar Ray Leonard, Michael Spinks and Leon Spinks.
His Olympic victory came just one week after his mother died of a heart attack.
Davis had an amateur record of 125–5.
Amateur accomplishments include:
- 1973 National AAU Champion (125 lb)
- Defeated Leroy Veasley of Detroit in the final
- 1974 World Championships (125 lbs) in Havana, Cuba
- 1976 National AAU Champion (132 lbs)
- Defeated Thomas Hearns on points.
- 1976 Olympic Trials
- Defeated Aaron Pryor to qualify at 132 pounds
- 1976 Summer Olympics – Gold Medal (132 lbs) and Val Barker Award winner for Most Outstanding Boxer of the Games
Davis turned professional in 1977. After winning his first thirteen fights, he challenged Jim Watt for the WBC lightweight title in 1980. Watt won by a fifteen-round unanimous decision. In 1984, with a record of 26–1, Davis fought Edwin Rosario for the WBC lightweight title. Rosario retained his title with a twelve-round split decision. His final attempt to win a world title came in 1988. Davis was stunningly knocked out in the first round by IBF junior welterweight champion Buddy McGirt. He retired after the fight. In 1994, Davis launched a comeback as a middleweight. He retired for good after a second-round knockout loss to Dana Rosenblatt. He finished with a professional record of 36–6–1 with 14 KO’s.
In July 2009, Glen Cove honored Davis by naming a street after him. The Mayor also proclaimed July 10 as Howard Davis Day in honor of both father and son.
Life after boxing
Currently, Davis is serving as a boxing trainer to MMA fighters, including Chuck Liddell and fighters from American Top Team. He also works as a sports commentator, a public speaker, and a promoter for Fight Time Promotions.
Davis was a boxing coach/trainer for Chuck Liddell on The Ultimate Fighter 11.
Davis’ wife Karla Guadamuz-Davis serves as his Publicist and Business Manager. (www.kgcmarketingteam.com)
- Inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame on November 12, 1998.
- Inducted into the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame on June 21, 2013.
- Inducted into the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame on March 30, 2014.
- Father of professional boxer Dyah Davis
- Record: 125 wins, 5 losses
- 1973 National AAU Champion (125 lbs) – Defeated Leroy Veasley of Detroit, MI in the final.
- 1973 North American Champion (125 lbs) – Defeated Dale Anderson of Canada in the final.
- 1974 National AAU Champion (125 lbs) – Defeated Mike Hess of Albany, OR in the final.
- 1974 World Champion (125 lbs) Competition in Havana, Cuba.
World Championship Results:
- 1976 National AAU Champion (132 lbs) – defeated Thomas Hearns of Detroit, MI in the final.
- 1976 Olympic Trials & Box-Offs (132 lbs) – defeated Aaron Pryor of Cincinnati, OH twice to qualify.
- 1976 Olympic Gold Medalist (132 lbs) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Awarded the Val Barker Trophy as the outstanding boxer of the Olympics.
Davis dedicated his gold medal to his mother, who passed away from a heart attack three days before his first Olympic bout.
- Named the Boxing Writers Association of America Fighter of the Year for 1976, along with his fellow U.S. Olympic Gold Medalists in boxing (Sugar Ray Leonard, Leon Spinks, Michael Spinks, and Leo Randolph).
Education: Glen Cove High School
Loves reading, traveling and music
Plays bass, drums, guitar, keyboards Lectures African history, theology, political history and boxing.
- Record: 36 wins, 6 losses, 1 draw, 14 knockouts
- After winning the Olympics, Davis signed a $1.5 million contract with CBS television.
- Davis fought for a world title three times. All three title shots were in Olympic years.
- Lost a fifteen-round unanimous decision to Jim Watt for the WBC Lightweight Title on June 7, 1980.
- Lost a twelve-round split decision to Edwin Rosario for the WBC Lightweight Title on June 23, 1984.
- Knocked out in the first round by James (Buddy) McGirt for the IBF Junior Welterweight Title on July 31, 1988.
- Davis served as Boxing Director at American Top Team, a mixed martial arts academy in Florida, for eight years. He’s now the CEO of Fight Time Promotions, the leader in MMA pro fights in South Florida.
- “Lost & Found” – Sports Illustrated – July 3, 2006
- Official Website
- Fight Time Promotions
- Howard Davis Jr on facebook
Boxing Record: click