Dreamland for Davey: George Davey interview

Oliver McManus
26/11/2019 10:58pm

Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

George Davey is living the dream as a professional boxer, and tells Oliver McManus he is aiming to impress on this weekend's Frank Warren show in Birmingham...

Debuting on a Josh Warrington undercard and having his second fight on a Birmingham show featuring six title fights; you'd be forgiven for thinking George Davey resides in dreamland not Yorkshire.

Even the cosy comforts of Yorkshire are miles away from his childhood home of Lanzarote. The Henry Wharton trained youngster began by telling Boxing Monthly, about how his love affair with the sport began.

“I was always around it; my dad used to box and did a bit back in York with Henry [Wharton]. My first ever session was when I was 10 years old and I really enjoyed it for a summer but I stopped for about four years. I just stopped. When I was 14 I thought 'you know what, let me give it a go again': that’s when the addiction to the sport started.”

In quick time Davey became dead set on pursuing a career in boxing. His amateur career in Spain saw him fighting on professional undercards in front of a 2,000 strong crowd. Whilst the experiences were memorable, the opponents he faced were limited and often familiar faces from the week before. It was time for the teenager to carve his own path and step away from his Spanish surroundings.

“By the time I was 17 it was a dream of mine to be a professional," he continued. "My dad told me I was going to have to move to England if I was to progress because [Lanzarote is] such a small island. Amateur boxing in Spain isn’t funded properly, not how it is [in Britain] and there was maybe three gyms in the region. If I were to make it I’d have to step out of my comfort zone and I really didn’t want to do it, to be fair, but I can’t regret it because I wouldn’t be a professional!”.

The decision, prompted by his father, to base himself in York paid off. Davey produced success almost immediately and would finish life as an amateur having been crowned Yorkshire, Northern and Haringey BoxCup champion on multiple occasions. The 22-year-old reflects on his apprenticeship fondly: “I had such good memories as an amateur especially being part of a team and sharing that experience.

"I’m really proud that I won the Yorkshire title and defended it three times. In my last defence I dropped him early on in front of home crowd at my gym. Winning the Haringey BoxCup was unbelievable and gave me more belief in myself and after that I won the Eindhoven BoxCup which was an Olympic qualifying event for the Netherlands team.”

In a bizarre end to his amateur days, the Yorkshire fighter would stop his namesake Tom Davey (who did not turn out to be a distant relative despite initial speculation) before inking a pro contract with Queensbury Promotions. Having Wharton in his corner added no pressure, Davey said, for what was “a perfect occasion”.

“I couldn’t have imagined it [the experience] being that good. It was so much better than I was thinking. I’d sold a few tickets but I wasn’t really expecting it to be that loud when I was fighting and I never expected that reception. The ring walk was quite nerve wracking and that can cloud your performance sometimes. When I got into the ring I felt quite confident and the crowd did settle me. After the fight I was thinking I should have enjoyed it a little bit more, really.”

The super welterweight was able to defeat Zygimantas Butkevicius relatively comfortably: 40-36 on the scorecard. His Hull-based, Lithuanian-born, opponent was game and gave Davey a few moments to think about. The performance was a pleasing one, all told, and the debutant was pleased upon consideration.

“Yeah he is a bit of a mean man. He’s boxed some good lads before and given people hard nights. I didn’t think I was going to stop him but when I was jabbing him I could see his nose getting marked up. He went in there to do his job and he did it well because I didn’t steamroll him and that’s what I wanted. I don’t want walkover fights and I want someone who’s going to give me a challenge.”

Following on from that victory the Queensbury fighter will be kept busy by Frank Warren with a four rounder against Dale Arrowsmith on 30 November. Topping the bill in Birmingham will be Zolani Tete who defends his WBO bantamweight crown as part of show featuring six title fights. The platforms being offered to Davey aren’t bad, to say the least.

“I think I’ll be able to handle the situation with more ease than the first time round. I’ll be more confident because I’ve already experienced that sort of atmosphere so I’m confident I’ll find the fight easier even if it does end up being a slightly harder fight. These occasions make me want to perform a bit more because you’re going on TV and Frank’s obviously giving me these opportunities.”

Outside of boxing Davey is a film buff of sorts with a particular passion for horror films. Nothing comes before family, not even boxing; when he’s not in the gym - a rare occurrence - Davey told me he was either with his girlfriend or sitting in the living room with his nan, Irene.

This weekend he’ll look to go 2-0 as a professional and is keen to produce a performance to remember.

“I’ve got a good coach going down to the arena so we should have a bit of noise. My supporters do make a lot of noise, I’m not gonna lie, and I’m hoping to put on a good performance. I like to bounce around in the ring, I like to keep moving and keep the punches flowing. I’m very thankful to have such a good trainer in Henry who looks after me and we’re confident we’ll put on a good fight.”