ASINIA BYFIELD spent his summer in Las Vegas, annoying Floyd Mayweather with his treatment of Gervonta Davis in the process, as he trained at Mayweather’s Gym.
The colourful Southern Area super-welterweight champion headed there for two weeks’ training with manager Mickey Helliet – and talked himself into a “doghouse” spar with Gervonta Davis, with Floyd Mayweather – ahead of his contest with Conor McGregor – watching intently.
“From the moment I got there, I made a lot of noise,” the 28-year-old from Reading told Boxing News, “and was calling everyone out. They didn’t like it!
“They got fed up of my mouth and they were thinking: ‘Let’s get in there and shut him up!’ They were queuing up to spar me!
“The first day I did eight rounds with Gervonta – and then a ninth round that went on for around 20 minutes. That was in the doghouse. I got through it and at the end, I still felt strong, but Gervonta was fading and Floyd wasn’t happy! He stormed out of the gym.”
Just weeks later, Davis lost his world title on the scales before turning in a poor performance on the Mayweather-McGregor undercard.
“Gervonta was strong, but I figured him out and the second time we sparred, I was all over him and he didn’t want to know. I was already confident – and now I’m super confident. My head has really grown.”
The lofty, fluid switch hitter showed his confidence when bursting Sam McNess’s bubble at the Copper Box Arena in July.
BT Sport viewers saw Byfield totally dominate the unbeaten West Hammer, outboxing at first him and then stepping it up to force a fifth-round stoppage and keep his Southern Area title.
Byfield is now back in Reading and training with Craig Piner in preparation for his next fight, a defence of his Southern Area belt against Max Wicks (6-1-1) at the York Hall in Bethnal Green on Saturday, October 7.
That fight goes ahead on a Cyclone Promotions show – and Byfield says he owes much to Barry McGuigan.
“I sparred Carl Frampton and Conrad Cummings before my debut,” said father-of-five Byfield, “and Barry told me: ‘You are British-title level, 100 per cent.’
“That gave me a lot of belief. The British title is my target and I’m up there now, but whether they can find anyone to fight me, I don’t know.”
Helliet admits that at first, he had rather more modest ambitions for Byfield.
“When I first saw Asinia spar I thought: ‘He will make a good journeyman. He’s hard to hit and he isn’t a puncher,’” said Helliet, who has around 70 fighters on his books and promotes regularly in the capital.
“I was going to get him a few wins, then put him on the road. But with every fight, he’s improved and I changed my mind.”