In conversation with Ohara Davies
Scott Hammerton caught up with Matchroom’s unbeaten lightweight prospect Ohara Davies, 6-0 (4 KOs), ahead of the Londoner’s next outing at the historic York Hall on 28th May.
It's been just over a year since you turned over - how have you found the transition from the amateurs to the pro game?
I think that as an amateur I always had a style that was more suited to the pro game. I got told plenty of times in the gym that I’ve got more of a pro style so, when I did finally decide to turn over, I didn’t really have to make many adjustments. Just a few slight changes - like getting used to doing more rounds and sparring more rounds.
Is it more a case of getting rounds under your belt as you move into the next phase of your development?
Yes, most definitely. My first few fights were all early stoppages [whereas] my last fight went the full six rounds. I learned more from that fight - about myself and what I need to work on - than I did in my other five fights. I believe that my strength is in my skills and not in my punching power and, when I fight people who wont go down so easily, I need to be confident in knowing how to deal with it.
We last saw you in March on the Braehmer v Krasniqi card in Rostock with a comfortable six-round points decision victory over Jacek Wylezol. Looking back, what can you take from those few days in Germany?
Fighting in Germany, to me, was no different than fighting in the UK. I believe that, as long as the boxing ring is no bigger or smaller, all the formalities are the same. I’ve worked hard in the gym, there is no difference and I’m comfortable 100% of the time when I step into the ring.
Matchroom’s promising talents are out in force on the ‘Young Guns’ card on Thursday 28th May at York Hall. Is there an update regarding your opponent and whether it will be a jump up to an 8-round contest?
My next opponent is Lance Sheehan. I forgot if it’s a 6 or 8-rounder. In the gym I’m sparring more than 6 and 8 rounds so, however many rounds it is, I will be ready for it.
Gym-mate Kevin Mitchell is challenging for world honours just a few days later at the big O2 Arena show against WBC 135lbs champion Jorge Linares. How has he looked in sparring?
Camp is going really well for Kevin. He says that he has never felt this good and ready. Kevin is looking great in the gym and, only yesterday, me and him sparred a few rounds together. I hope he can pull it off and bring the WBC title home.
Darren Barker has been in the gym of late coaching you - how was that experience? I caught him over in Vegas during the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight week – he still looked in decent enough shape! It must be great having him around the place?
Training with Darren was really a great experience. I got to ask him all the questions that I wanted about his career, mindset and his motivations. I missed him in the gym when he was training for his big fights as I’ve only been training with Tony Sims for seven months, but getting to see Kevin Mitchell train for his world title fight makes up for it.
You recently said ‘boxing saved my life’ on your Twitter account. Can you expand on that statement?
Boxing saved me from a lot of trouble in the past that I would have gotten into if I wasn’t in the gym. When Tony Cesay spotted me in the youth club years ago, I was on bail for crimes that could have easily sent me to prison. Tony came to court cases with me and supported me, after the cases were finished. He kept me in the gym and that has been my focus ever since. Without boxing, I think I would have continued living the street lifestyle
Two years ago, you had a camp at the Mayweather gym in Las Vegas - how much did that help with your learning curve?
Training at the Mayweather gym helped me greatly, not in terms of my boxing skill, but keeping the fire burning inside of me and seeing what kind of life I could possibly give myself and my family. When I came back to the UK, I was hungrier than ever to succeed in the sport. That spar on YouTube I had with Kevin Johnson was intense, but that’s how the Mayweather gym is - full of competition and full of hungry young fighters. Good luck to him anyway. I’ve heard that he’s in the process of turning pro.
Speaking of which, what were your thoughts on the recent Mayweather-Pacquiao fight?
Great performance by Mayweather. He does what he always does and that’s getting the job done in what some will call a boring fashion but I call it a smart fashion. People expected Pacquiao to work harder and push Floyd, but he failed to do what everyone thought he would do. Floyd proved that he is ‘TBE’.
Looking ahead, it's a thriving domestic division that lies in front of you. There were some recent exchanges with Floyd Moore on social media - has there been any progress with that potential fight or has that ship now sailed?
I’m always on the boat and ready to fight. Floyd Moore is on the sailing ship sailing away. Some people write things on Twitter to make it seem like they want to fight, but when it comes down to actually making it a reality - they’re not up for it. Respect to Lance Sheehan for stepping up to take the fight anyway.
Finally, what is the plan for Ohara Davies for the rest of 2015? I hear there’s another big show at London’s O2 Arena on September 12th - I’m sure you’d love to fight there for a third time!
I’d love to fight as often as I can, but I don’t want another fight date until I get May 28th out of the way first. I want to take things one step at a time. In boxing, I’ve learned that you can’t overlook anybody.
The ‘Young Guns’ promotion will be live on Matchroom Boxing Fight Pass with tickets priced at £40 unreserved, £60 ringside and VIPs priced at £100.