Gareth A. Davies believes former two-time heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has picked the right guy in Ben Davison to help train him for his fight with Otto Wallin on December 23rd at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Eddie Hearn says Joshua (26-3, 23 KOs) hasn’t parted ways with his U.S. coach Derrick James. It’s more convenient right now for him to work with Davison, because he lives in the UK, and it’s easier for him to train rather than going over to the States to work with Derrick.
At this stage of Joshua’s career, he needs someone like Ben to help him with his footwork and defensive skills, especially with dangerous fights ahead of him in 2024 with Deontay Wilder & potentially Tyson Fury.
Gareth points out that Davison helped bring back a 400+ lb Fury, when he’d been out of the ring for a long time after his victory over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015. Davison has helped excellent fighters like Leigh Wood and Billy Joe Saunders with their careers.
Joshua in good hands with Davison
“I’ve been a friend and close ally to Ben Davison for a long time. I first ran into Ben seven years ago where he was training Billy Joe Saunders and bringing Tyson Fury back at the time when he weighed 400 odd pounds,” said Gareth A. Davies to Boxing King Media, discussing trainer Ben Davison, who is working with Anthony Joshua.
Some fans would argue that Fury was a better fighter when he was working with Ben compared to now, as he takes a lot of punishment in his fights since teaming up with SugarHill Steward, who has turned him into a grappler, and he’s put on weight.
The style that Fury had when he was with Davison was more advanced, and he didn’t get hit as much. On the flip side, Fury can eat more and afford to pack on the pounds & get fat with the SugarHill’s style that he’s taught him because it mostly involves leaning & mauling his opponents with his 270+ lb frame. Fury has been lucky thus far that his opposition hasn’t had an inside game.
“Look what Ben did with Tyson Fury. He brought him back from the brink and lived with him in his home, and never left him to his own devices,” said Gareth. “He really helped curate him back to his greatness. He and Billy Joe Saunders had an amazing relationship. Look what he’s done with Leigh Woods.”
It might be better if Joshua cuts ties with Derrick James and makes the move with Ben Davison official because he’s not better off with the American coach.
Not only is it a difficult training situation due to the long travel involved, but Derrick’s coaching style involves a lot of brawling from his fighters, which doesn’t work for Joshua. He’s been there and done that, and he doesn’t have the chin, mindset, or stamina to fight that way.
Ben Davison will enhance AJ
“He will enhance Anthony Joshua. There’s no question about it,” said Gareth about Davison. He will enhance what Anthony Joshua is and what he can do. I think it’s a great choice, and I think it saves Joshua.
It’s too bad that Joshua didn’t hook up with Davison a long time ago, as he might still be unbeaten if he had him as his coach since day one in 2013. You can only imagine how good Joshua would have looked in his fights against Wladimir Klitschko, Oleksandr Usyk, and Andy Ruiz Jr.
“I don’t know what the scenario is with Derrick James. Maybe when he goes to the States, he’ll work with Derrick James,” said Gareth about Joshua. “It doesn’t matter. He doesn’t have to be with one coach. He can work with different things with Ben Davison. Joshua is based in central London, and it’s a 45-minute drive to training camp.
“Ben has always impressed me. He’s an old head on young shoulders. I think it’s brilliant what he does with young boxers. I find him very impressive. He’s an intelligent, caring soul who loves what he does. Knowing Ben as I do, I think he’d be a great addition to Anthony Joshua’s stable,” said Gareth.
Derrick is a good coach, but the fighters in his stable tend to get hit a lot and fight aggressively. That would work for Joshua if his stamina & punch resistance were better, but that’s not the case.
Joshua will likely return to Derrick when he faces Wilder next year, but he could be asking for trouble in that fight if he charges in, looking to mix it.
“Anthony Joshua likes to get involved in the intellectual side of the sport as well, and I think psychologically, emotionally, mentally, all those factors are all good for Anthony Joshua at this stage about this discussion where he is mentally on everyone’s lips,” said Gareth.