A new Day ready to break
James Oddy speaks to London-based Ben Day as he looks ahead to the 'Battle of Devon' vs Jamie Speight...
Boxing by its very nature attracts individuals who take risks.
Individuals who are head strong, driven and committed, no matter how big the task seems to an outsider.
Even for boxing, Ben Day (8-2-1) is an extreme example. The Devon native, now living and fighting out of London, has overcome countless obstacles prior to his 22 April showdown with Jamie Speight at Goodwin promotions' 'Nemesis’ show at York Hall. On the line is the Southern Area featherweight title.
“I received a drink driving ban, and subsequently lost my job as a carpenter which had a knock-on effect,” Day recently revealed to Boxing Monthly when explaining how he ended up boxing professionally.
“I had no money, got into debt and started drinking heavily. I then joined a boxing gym when I was 28 [Rooney's Gym] and was able to use my carpentry skills to help build his gym. I also built up their classes. I then started sparring pros and found I had a natural talent.”
Day has developed a unique, hands down, crowd-pleasing style that suits his moniker of ‘The Entertainer’.
“[My style is similar to] Prince Naseem/ Roy Jones...elusive and awkward," he explains. "[It] can't be taught.”
Day has not hung around in his professional career - he had only two white-collar bouts before turning over and picked up the Southern Area super lightweight title in 2015 by stopping Ryan Taylor in the first round of just his ninth bout.
Day then fought twice in 2016 for the Southern Area lightweight title, losing against Floyd Moore and Michael Devine on points and by TKO respectively. Against Moore, Day went toe to toe in one of the best domestic fights of the year against a quality fighter with a reputation for heavy hands.
Despite the losses, Day quite rightly sees positives from his last two fights.
“[I was] very, very proud. I still feel I'm unbeaten," he argues. "Definitely the Moore fight was fight of the year. As for the Devine fight - a referee’s opinion, I will not be judged by. [The fight was stopped in round two after Day was knocked down, eliciting protests from Day and his corner].
"[Besides] I'm not at the right weight to fight these guys, I should be super featherweight or even featherweight ... but it proves I've got a chin!”
Day has recently embraced a vegan diet and lifestyle, both for ethical and practical reasons.
“Best thing I ever did. It's changed my life," he explains. "I moved down three weight divisions and kept my strength and power. No more high blood pressure, no more sleepless nights and my mood is much more steady. More importantly though - no murder of animals."
Day expects the Speight fight to be a “barnstormer". Aside from the title at stake, Speight is also a Devon native, creating a “Battle of Devon” which should create a great atmosphere both in and out of the ring.
Speight is a tough fighter and has already held the title, and Day expects his opponent to “come forward and try take me out”.
Whilst not looking beyond his next fight, Day also has a long term and ambitious aim in the game.
“My aim is to become a British champion," he declares. "I won't stop until I achieve that goal - I can visualise it."
Regardless of what he does next, it’s not hard to see the extremely likable Day as a winner already, having followed his dream and made the best of a bad situation. He also owns and runs the Ringtone gym, located in Euston, a gym in which Day himself trains.
“It's a boutique boxing gym," he says when asked to describe it. "No amateurs, no professionals, no children. There's no need to sell it - it's that unique it sells itself, and has a wonderful positive energy that can't be bought.”