Ohara Davies may be hunting the #GoldenContract but there was little ‘bling’ about his upbringing.
‘Two Tanks’ has divided opinion throughout his career. Now, in the midst of what he claims is something approaching an epiphany, the Londoner has lifted the lid on a troubled childhood that took him to all corners of the city for all the wrong reasons.
Of course, the ‘boxing saved my life’ story is not an unfamiliar one but that doesn’t make each story any less valid or potentially inspiring.
Londoner Davies is ranked No.13 with the IBO and currently preparing for the finals of the MTK Golden Contract Tournament with rival Tyrone McKenna, where a lucrative contract awaits the winner.
#MTKInsideAccess was on-hand to delve into his past:
#MTKInsideAccess: You’ve not spoken about your childhood much before. Tell us about it…
Ohara: I was born and raised in Hackney. I’m all about the Kingsmead Estate! Things were very tough growing up. I came from a poor family with lots of issues. My parents separated when I was six years old and me and my siblings were put into care.
They split me and siblings up when we went into foster care. Me and my brother got put into one house and my other brother and sister got put into another. At one point, I didn’t see that brother and sister for around six months. It was hard.
They moved us from house to house. Eventually, we ended up in the same house with a nice family but before that, we got moved between maybe eight different homes in the space of a few years. These foster homes were all over London – Dagenham, Croydon and all over the place.
How do you reflect on that time and how it shaped you as a person?
It wasn’t all bad. The last family we all liked. They treated us well and took us to school. We even had a Playstation! Other families were no good. The fostering world is a business as well as a good thing and a lot of these people are in it for the money. They take the cash and don’t treat the children well. We were too young to know who to speak to and we didn’t know what was right or wrong at that age anyway.
My Dad had walked out and my Mum wasn’t well. She was in hospital suffering from mental illness. Me and my siblings were basically on our own. We couldn’t go and see our Mum while we were in care and we didn’t see her for years. Once we were older, they allowed us to return home because my oldest brother could look after our Mum.
Once we came back home, I felt just as close to my older brother and sister. We’ve always been tight as a family. We moved to Homerton, just outside the Kingsmead Estate. That estate is where I spent my time. I went back to the same school and went back to hanging out on the same estate.
Once you were home, were things more calm?
Not really. If you’re brought up in a certain area, you can be surrounded by the wrong role models. They’ve got girls around them, nice cars and they’re smoking weed. They look rich and cool and you think you want to be like them. They deal drugs, have guns and nobody will f*ck with them. You idolise them and go down that path. It’s only when you get older, you start to realise it’s a lie.
I ended up in Crown Court when I was 16 on an attempted murder charge. Someone got stabbed and it was close to his heart. An inch to the left and he was dead. Luckily, the guy lived. I was found not guilty. I still had to do some Community Service and go to youth offending teams. I pleaded guilty for selling Class A drugs on a separate deal but I managed to avoid jail.
In that environment, some people think going to jail is cool. I didn’t want to go there but I wouldn’t have been concerned. When I came out, I’d have an even bigger reputation. That’s the way we thought.
So you were in trouble late into your teens. How did you come to carve out a meaningful career in boxing?
I used to go to a youth club in my area and, every Wednesday, there was a coach I used to come down and do the pads with us. It was Tony Cesay. There were lots of us but I was the only one who’d turn up every single Wednesday.
I was one of the worst fighters in the gym back then but what I had over everyone else was consistency. Other people knew how to fight but they weren’t dedicated and that’s why I got past them. I didn’t have a life. Others had a life outside of it but I left everything behind to stay consistent at boxing.
Some people doubt this change of character and will always see you as ‘the bad guy’. Do you regret things you’ve said done in the past?
I don’t regret anything I’ve done with regards to how people have perceived me in the past. It was how I wanted to act and it was my goal to be the pantomime villain. Now, it’s not my dream or my goal any more. I’m just going to be me now and I’m already planning for the future.
Long term, I want to be involved in property. Punditry isn’t my strong point and I’m not really interested in coaching. I only really watch boxing if my friend is fighting or if there’s a massive fight. Once I finish boxing myself, I won’t be that heavily involved in it because I don’t watch fighters I don’t know. I don’t think I’d be a great coach. Maybe I thought I would until I met Angel Fernandez!
I also want to find the right woman one day. I saw the Frampton #MTKInsideAccess feature and about how his wife has supported him. Girls like that are gold dust. I was going to Tweet something positive about it but then I remembered that she’d said some bad things about me so I didn’t! Regardless, the kind of loyalty they have is rare in this world and I respect them for it.