Tuesday, April 23, 2024  |



Lightweight Mia Ellis holds a rare distinction in boxing few have achieved

Fighters Network

They go way, way back with each other. Lightweights Mia (pronounced Mee-ahh) Ellis and Gervonta “Tank” Davis were once two little kids causing chaos for everyone chasing each other around the gym. They have known each other for almost two decades, since Mia, the daughter of Davis’ co-trainer Kenny Ellis, was five.

They have more of an older brother-little sister relationship.

“Killer Bee” is a 5-foot-9, 22-year-old lightweight who carries a 6-1 record (5 knockouts) and a unique distinction hardly anyone in boxing can lay claim to—she once knocked down Tank Davis.

Mia Elis, daughter of Tank Davis’ co-trainer Kenny Ellis, once knocked down Gervonta Davis as a kid (Photo courtesy of PBC).

The 28-year-old Davis (28-0, 26 KOs) is a five-time, three-division titlist who will be taking on 24-year-old Ryan Garcia (23-0, 19 KOs) in the biggest fight of both of their careers this Saturday in a Premier Boxing Champions event on SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mia will be ringside, with her father Kenny working Davis’ corner.

She was brought up around boxing. Kenny would take his daughter with him everywhere. She lived, ate, and breathed the game. She was four when she first stepped into the ring and actually kiddy sparred with those big, overgrown gloves and headgear against a puppy Tank Davis.

“They put me in the ring with him to see if I would quit, and I came back the next day,” Mia said, laughing. “When Tank was 10, about to go to his first Golden Gloves nationals, I dropped him right at the time The Baltimore Sun was there to do a newspaper story on me (laughs). They caught it on camera and put it in the newspaper. I have proof that I dropped him (laughs). I was five and I still tease him about that to this day. Tank laughs when I remind him. People don’t believe it until they see the actual article in the newspaper. He was down on the canvas, and I was standing over him (laughs).”

No one has stood over Davis since, Mia seriously points out.

“He’s been such a big part of my life,” she said about Davis. “I’ve known him for almost 20 years. He motivates me. He keeps me going. Even though I’m just starting out in my pro career, I have critics already. He keeps telling me it doesn’t matter what other people say, and the critics are sometimes people that are close to us. I have those conversations with him because he knows how to deal with it. He tells me it doesn’t matter what I do, people will always have stuff to say.

“People outside think they know Tank. They don’t. He cares about the people closest to him. He’s loyal to the people loyal to him. He is a lot smarter than people give him credit for. He works harder than people know. I know because I see it. It’s why he is a superstar, but to me, he’s the same old Tank. He hasn’t changed. He’s a good guy who’s always looked out for me.”

Mia is looking to rebuild her resume after suffering a surprising upset loss to Jaica Pavilus in May 2022 on the Davis-Rolly Romero undercard from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Mia was knocked down in the sixth round of that fight for the first time in her life. She’s since won two-straight knocking her opponents out in the first round in each of those fights. Although, she still carries the lessons learned from her lone setback.

First, Mia is 22 and is 5-foot-9, though she looks like she’s 18 and frequently gets carded when she goes out because no one believes her age. Secondly, she’s accountable and learns fast.

“I learned a lot from that loss, and the biggest lesson is you shouldn’t go into a fight if you’re not mentally ready,” Mia said. “I was going through something with my family. I had lost a family member two days before the fight, someone I was very close to. This happened before. I lost a close family friend, who was more like a brother to me, just before the Elizabeth Tuani fight and I won. I thought I could do it again. I let my pride get in the way (against Pavilus).

“I thought I could pull it off again. I found out I couldn’t. I remember getting knocked down. I was going through so much during that fight that I didn’t feel I was in the ring with (Pavilus). You can say it was my ghost that showed up that night. If I’m not mentally prepared for a fight, I won’t fight. I had so much on my mind trying to deal with a tragic loss. The loss finally sunk in a month later. I was angry at myself. I was asked if I wanted to fight or not, and I should have gone with my gut feeling and said I couldn’t fight. I did get dropped in the last few seconds of the last round. But I know for sure it was not a unanimous decision. I got back on my feet after I got knocked down. Whoever I face next, it won’t be easy for them.”

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Follow @JSantoliquito