'Katie Taylor is the full package': Ross Enamait interview

James Lupton
11/01/2019 10:03pm

Trainer and keen YouTuber Ross Enamait speaks to James Lupton about his work with Irish lightweight sensation Katie Taylor...

In the current age of technology, YouTube is big business for an array of Vloggers.

One man who utilised the video sharing website before it became a worldwide sensation is Ross Enamait. Over 38,500 YouTube subscribers and three fitness books later the American has found himself as a boxing trainer to one of the best in the business, Irish sensation Katie Taylor.

“As far as Katie coming over, she had some of my books to read in the amateurs. That’s one of the reasons why she first contacted me; we first linked up after the Olympics [2016]," Enamait explains.

“I didn’t know much about women’s boxing when she contacted me, I had heard of her but I hadn’t ever seen her fight. So I started off with just giving her some advice but she was persistent, eager, she really wanted to come over for a camp. I was looking at it from the standpoint that if someone’s willing to fly halfway around the world to train they must be pretty serious.”

After succumbing to her perseverance Enamait took on Taylor for a camp. At the time Katie’s future was in limbo as she pondered turning pro. Had Enamait bitten off more than he could chew?

“I didn’t know she was turning pro, she didn’t know she was turning pro," he recalls. "We were just trying to work together to try and work out a few things. From the get-go, we worked well together and she flew back after the three weeks.

“We had a situation where she had a tough time training herself in the amateurs and I think a lot of people had written her off. People were talking shit online when she first turned pro, people [were] saying she should’ve turned pro after 2012. They don’t have a lot to say right now though!

“She met with Eddie Hearn and decided she was done with the amateurs and wanted a fresh start, she was back [in America] the week after. She made her debut that November [2016].”

After a successful amateur career there is always an element of worry that the transition to the professional ranks may not work. Enamait explains to Boxing Monthly how he has worked with Katie so she has acclimatised to the punch-for-pay ranks.

“Every fight she’s had she’s been getting better every fight," he argues. "Obviously her style was suited to the amateurs so the last couple of years it has gradually been adjusting. I can look at her right now and say ‘you are a true professional. When you first turned pro there were a lot of amateur habits, but a lot of them are gone now.'

"She really is a pro who can get in the trenches and mix it up. She can sit on the outside and box on her toes. She’s really somewhat of a full package, where she has options. A lot of fighters don’t have options, you need to have a bit of everything, which is one of the reasons she’s special.

“Part of it has to do with what you can do to make the transition. Sometimes it’s whether or not you’re made for the pros. You may have someone who can’t take it but you don’t find that out as an amateur, then they turn pro and it’s tougher, they can’t take the punches.

"[In pro boxing] you’re not just trying to score points, you’re trying to hurt somebody. There could be amateurs who could stay on their toes for three rounds and get by without finding out they don’t really have a chin. They do well on a points system but when you get to eight, ten, twelve rounds all of a sudden problems start to get exposed.

“With Katie, the fortunate thing about her is she has a great chin. We don’t really spar with girls, she gets in with professional guys. We have guys here who try to take her head off. Katie can take it, physically and mentally, it’s a big part of the transitioning.”

Last time out, the ever-improving Taylor successfully retained her IBF and WBA world lightweight titles against former amateur foe Eva Wahlström, who Taylor beat to win her first ever major boxing medal. After this win many fans have called for the 32-year-old Bray native to be acclaimed as the female pound-for-pound number one boxer.

Enamait agrees with this notion. “I’m biased but I think she’s the best there is right now," he says. "Obviously, there’s [undisputed welterweight champion] Cecilia Braekhus as well, but I think she’s at the tail end of her career, nothing against her but I think Katie’s light years ahead of any of the women out there right now."

The goal, as Enamait sees it, is clear - for Taylor to keep improving.

“In boxing it’s about you constantly keeping your tools sharp, obviously you’re going to work on little things here and there. In any sport, baseball the best hitters in the world, they take batting practice every day. They are always keeping their tools sharp trying to get that little bit better. It’s the same idea with boxing.

“A lot of people are saying that Katie has had her best fight as a pro against Eva Wahlström but there are still things we will look at from that fight that we could do better. So I don’t think that you’ve ever got a finished product. You will always be trying to do little things better.

"Little adjustments defensively and offensively. There’s always something you can sharpen because when she starts to think she can’t that’s when she’ll run into problems. If you think you can’t make improvements someone’s coming and they’ll knock you off your block.

"One of the great things about is Katie is she busts her ass, she’s always willing and eager to improve. As good as she is, she is very humble, she knows that she can get better. Anybody in the world can get better.”

Although Enamait has experienced a rise to prominence since taking on his role with Taylor, he has also had previous experience in world title fights prior to working with the Irishwoman.

“I’ve worked with Matt Remillard, who’s only lost to Mikey Garcia. He’s one of those guys who has exceptional talent that unfortunately people haven’t heard of. He had some trouble as well, he did some time in prison. He hasn’t really had a break [in boxing], he’s 4-0 since he got out. He is up there with the best, and I’ve seen him in there with the best. He’s a legit fighter.

“Matt Godfrey who lost to Marco Huck, [is] another guy who’s an exceptional talent. I don’t think people realise just how good he was.”

Boxing was always Enamait’s passion, his own unrealised potential was scuppered by injuries, so the American turned his hand to coaching instead during his teenage years.

“I was involved in the amateurs as a youngster you know, so it’s been a long time, since the early 1990s. I never really got away from it!

“I was in the amateurs for a long time, for over ten years but I had a lot of troubles outside of the ring. Unfortunately, I had problems with my hands because I fractured my right hand and I had a wrist injury. After repeatedly trying to come back I eventually transitioned from fighting to coaching. In the amateurs, I was a teenager, somewhat of a knucklehead and I got into a lot of fights outside of the ring. By the time I got it all figured out I had switched to coaching.

“I’m 41 now, I probably stopped fighting in 1999/2000 and I started helping out [coaching the youth amateurs] and eventually from there I started working with Matt Godfrey, I actually knew him from the amateurs. We were on the same team at one point in the amateurs.”

One thing is for certain, Enamait’s stock has risen and Taylor’s persistence has paid off.

With an estimated three-fight route to six-weight world champion, Amanda Serrano. ‘The Bray Bomber’ is looking to lock in her legacy sooner rather than later, and Enamait looks likely to be alongside her every step of the way.