Ohara Davies ready for Josh Taylor: ‘I’m my own idol’
Cocky. Conceited. Controversial. Crude.
Unbeaten junior welterweight Ohara Davies is capable of being all those things, but the 25-year-old boxer-puncher is also calculating. This Saturday, Davies squares off against Josh Taylor at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow, Scotland, in a fight that is much bigger than it would have been had the Londoner not become one of the most loathed figures in British boxing.
Taylor, a genuine and approachable personality, is the complete antithesis of his rival and promises to deliver the fairytale knockout ending that his home support so dearly want delivered. Davies revels in his bad-boy image and gleefully conducts himself like a pantomime villain with fists.
“I do love the Scots but this is one Scot that I don’t like,” said Davies in an interview with RingTV.com. “(Taylor) has been calling me out for so long and genuinely believes that he can beat me. The public genuinely believes that he can beat me and I’m in this game to fight the best. If this guy is the best, then that’s cool, but I want to check for myself.
“Other fighters want to spend their boxing careers avoiding the good fighters. They want to fight journeymen. These guys will end up with 25 wins, 25 knockouts but they won’t have any money in the bank. I was offered money for this fight that I couldn’t turn down but it’s a fight I wanted anyway. If you have a warrior’s heart and a fighter’s mindset, then you’ll take the big fights at any stage of your career.”
If Davies’ “All about the green” mantra sounds familiar, then his fistic influence won’t come as any surprise. Floyd Mayweather Jr., the former five-weight world champion and pound-for-pound superstar, was an immensely gifted prizefighter, but his polarizing “Money” persona and flair for publicity led to record-breaking purses. Davies (15-0, 12 knockouts) has been taking notes.
“Floyd has inspired me the most,” he said. “Since I got into boxing, he’s been the fighter that I’ve always watched. I still watch him. He’s the one that I’ve kind of looked up to because of the personality he has. That inspired me and I was like, ‘I want to be like Floyd because he drives the nice cars, he’s got the nice girls and he’s got the flashy lifestyle.’
“But this is something I’ve done since I was an amateur. I used to watch WWE wrestling and it always fascinated me. I’ve always been a fan and I’ve always loved it. I loved the ring entrances, the flashing lights and it’s always been a part of my character. I’ve brought all of that into this game and I reckon it’s worked.”
Ironically, Davies made headlines when he confronted Mayweather following a press conference in London. The former champion, who was in town as a promoter, gave Davies the brush-off and stated that his fighter, reigning IBF junior lightweight titleholder Gervonta Davis, was levels above. Davies, affronted that he was being compared to a fighter who campaigned at 130 pounds, later challenged the future Hall-of-Famer on the matter before assembled media. Mayweather initially rose to the bait, then smiled broadly when he recognized that Davies was drumming up invaluable self-promotion. He’d been there, done that and bought the t-shirt.
“When you’re an amateur, you look up to your idols and then, as you get older, you become your idol,” said Davies with no sign of kidology. “I’ve gotten to a point in my boxing career where I’ve become everything that I looked up to.
“Five or six year ago, if I could look into the future, I would be so proud of myself. I’m living out my childhood dreams. I reckon that I’m my own idol. I don’t look up to anyone the same as I did a few years ago; it’s all different now and I’ll stand up to anyone. I wasn’t nervous at all (about confronting Mayweather) because he’s not as big to me as he once was.”
Despite Davies’ exuberance and enormous levels of confidence, he is in fact the underdog in the biggest fight of his career to date. A decorated amateur, Taylor (9-0, 8 KOs) competed in the London Olympics in 2012, claimed Commonwealth gold in 2014 and took part in the World Series of Boxing before turning professional. The Edinburgh man is a class act.
“He’s tall, rangy, he’s got long arms, he’s fast, really sharp; he’s a good fighter and that’s why me and him are fighting in the main event,” acknowledged Davies.
“This could be the hardest fight of my boxing career but I’m not in this game to take easy fights. Taylor is a good boxer, he’s one of the best in the U.K. right now. If he was a bum, I wouldn’t want to fight him. I only want to fight the best. It’s actually a compliment to him that he gets the opportunity to fight me.”
Davies can change his mind as quickly as he can throw a right hand. Our conversation took place last night and just over 12 hours later, the Englishman had called Taylor “a bum” at the final press conference in Glasgow. He also called Taylor’s coach, Shane McGuigan, a bum. He called anyone working with Cyclone Promotions a bum. Does he really believe Taylor is a bum? One would doubt it, although the outburst is likely to have sold a stack of tickets.
Fans were allowed into the press conference today and Davies was only too happy to take them on as well as Team Taylor. He is not popular and a Scottish crowd will show him no mercy. The fighter, however, couldn’t care less.
“I feed off that type of atmosphere,” said Davies. “In my last fight, I fought in my own hometown and got booed by 18,000 people. That was my own hometown, so I have no issue coming to Scotland and being booed in front of 3,000 people. The crowd don’t play any role in my victory or my defeat. It all comes down to what happens when we get into that squared circle. Me and him are the masters of our own destiny.
“I don’t know what kind of fight this is going to be, but I know that it’s not going past Round 6. I’ll take him out or he’ll take me out. I won’t allow it to go over six rounds.”
READ ON RINGTV.COM – JOSH TAYLOR: OHARA DAVIES IS ‘GONNA GET A PASTING’
Taylor-Davies will be live on Channel 5 in the U.K. from 10.00 p.m. (local time). Tickets are available via TicketMaster.
Tom Gray is a UK Correspondent/ Editor for RingTV.com and a member of THE RING ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing
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