Ben Davison: "The world of boxing extends far beyond the two athletes you see in the ring on fight night…"
As part of our new #MTKBusinessOfBoxing series, we delve into the different roles in the industry and speak to the people who shine in those roles.
The MTK Academy offers a selection of free courses for young adults aged 16-19 in all aspects of the business, from fighter and trainers, to cuts men, nutritionists, manager and journalists so we talk to those who are paving the way for the next generation, many of whom will come through the new MTK Academy on their way.
Today, we speak to Ben Davison, the young trainer who masterminded Tyson Fury’s sensational comeback and now trains world champions Billy Joe Saunders and Josh Taylor…
#MTKBusinessofBoxing: Did you always imagine yourself becoming a boxing coach and if so, who inspired you?
Davison: “I would probably say yes – it was always something I thought I’d end up doing. I have always been very analytical in whatever it is I do. I’ve always focused on improvement, and understanding what it is I am or need to be doing.
“My idols are the masters of the sport – the fighters – whom I can watch and pick out things; taking their attributes and how they do things. Then it’s about breaking down and assessing what attributes will suit which fighters.”
What do you make of the MTK Academy initiative and would it have smoothed your path into boxing?
“It’s fantastic what MTK Global has already done for the sport. Like anything, it will only be appreciated in time but they have changed the game and still are changing the game for the better.
“It’s hard to say what impact it would have had on me because my path was my path but what it may do is steer more people towards our sport – people who may not have gone down that path. The more participants and the more coaches, naturally the higher the standards rise.”
What about the stable you have now? You must be very excited about coaching both Billy Joe Saunders and Josh Taylor together?
“I’m very excited. I wholeheartedly believe that with Billy Joe, we’ll see a career-best performance next time out and I feel there’s a huge change coming in his career in terms of consistency. We all know about his ability but I feel we are now at the stage where we’ll be able to get the best and most consistency out of him.
“With Josh, I can’t see his ceiling yet. It’s going to take time but I believe once we can make the things we’re working on ‘click’ – which takes time and can be a frustrating process – but once they do, he will hit another new level.”
How important is it to remain humble enough to be open to learning in a sport so reliant on supreme confidence?
“It’s not really about being humble. If I can explain to you this is what, why and how we are going to work on something and I can show and explain that then most fighters are willing to listen. If I couldn’t give them that explanation then they may not be. Once you gain the trust and they have belief in your ‘eye’ or your philosophy, then it becomes quite smooth.
“As for a coach, you always have to be learning tactically, technically, physically, reading and learning about different areas of the sport; then putting together programmes, drills and sessions that can implement those things.”
How important is a combination of personalities as well as the technical understanding between fighter and coach?
“Sometimes people make the assumption that because I’m a ‘young’ coach, the fighters won’t listen to me. The reality is that because I’m young, I don’t have to be here doing what I do. I’m happy having a good relationship with the lads outside the gym because they all know that if I wasn’t receiving respect for the advice I’m giving in the gym, I wouldn’t be there.
“On the technical front, Billy Joe and I have worked together for a very long time so I know him back to front. I can see what he’s setting up and I can see how he’s feeling. I know his strengths and I know his weaknesses. He trusts if I ask him to do something that it’ll work but he’s also an experienced fighter and may have his input on the training. On the strength and conditioning side, he knows what he likes and feels works for him.
“With Josh, it’s still quite new. I’m still at a point of focusing on specifics before building up to the ‘flow’ of things but once we get to that point I believe he’ll hit a new level. Josh is a fighter who has achieved a hell of a lot in a short space of time so there are different approaches he hasn’t tried yet in terms of nutrition etc. He had great success with his previous S & C coach who we would actually like to continue to use if possible. Technically, I will break down a situation to Josh and explain the benefits of adding something to his game or improving a certain area and why it will improve him and the effects it’ll have.”
What are your goals as a coach and as a person right here and now?
“As a coach the goal always remains the same: getting the best out of the fighters I’m working with. For me to do that, I have to be the best I can be, which is why I study the sport so much. I work so hard and so long; giving everything to it because I want it just as much as they do.
“As a person, I want to find balance – as that’s the key in life!”
Thanks very much for your time, coach, and all the best in the future.
Think you can follow in Ben’s footsteps? Want to become a professional boxing coach? If you’re between the ages of 16-19, have a passion for boxing inside or outside the ring and want to turn that passion into a career, sign up to one of our free courses at MTK Academy today and kickstart your journey in the boxing world: CLICK HERE