March 10, 2017
March 10, 2017
Julian Williams

Stephanie Trapp/Showtime

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“I THINK Anthony Joshua beats Wladimir Klitschko, and I think he stops him,” says trainer Stephen “Breadman” Edwards. “Maybe even in the first three rounds. Joshua does have a technical flaw that I noticed. He’s a little straight-legged. He could get caught with a counterpunch because he locks his leg up a little bit. Other than that, I think he’s the real deal.”

It’s this boxing acuity that’s made Edwards’ breakdowns and predictions a must-read for hardcore fans. It’s also made the 40-year-old one of the rising young trainers in the sport.

Julian Williams gave a great effort in losing to Jermall Charlo. As his trainer, what were your thoughts on the action?

It was a good fight. Obviously, you want to win. Sometimes the false narrative bothers me though. People only see the result and don’t look at what transpired during the fight.

I thought Julian won three out of the first four rounds. It doesn’t help that you can only see the knockout on YouTube. Charlo is skilled—he can fight. But you saw that Julian was consistently ahead of him.

What’s Williams’ mind state now?

He’s alright. A loss is only a loss if you don’t learn from it. So, he’s going to have to show maturity. I talked to him and he thinks he got caught with a shot he didn’t see. But as a coach, I think it was a little more than that. I think Charlo baited him and Julian should’ve known better. But he’s alright. He didn’t take a beating and he’s very young.

Julian’s going to have to use this as fuel to prove people wrong. Like Terry Norris did, like Lennox Lewis did and Marco Antonio Barrera when he got caught by Junior Jones.

Kyrone Davis is the other fighter you train. After his close decision loss to Junior Castillo, he bounced back with an impressive win on the Danny Garcia-Samuel Vargas undercard. What’s the latest with him?

We’re hoping the loss makes it easier for Kyrone to get fights. Man, there’s a lot of things that go on in fights that I never complain about. Kyrone lost a one-point decision but in my heart of hearts, he won that fight and I’ll leave it at that. Last November was his first fight back after the loss and, as you can see, he’s a phenomenal talent.

I’ve had Kyrone since 2013. Flat out, the kid can fight. He was 91-9 as an amateur and a three-time national champion. He goes under the radar now but I expect him to be, in the next couple years, right where Julian is.

Davis and Williams have pretty solid fundamentals. How did you become a trainer?

I was a big fan of boxing as a kid. And I was always into sports but I hurt my knee in high school. While I was in college I began going to the gym. I sparred with a lot of good pros and got good work in. My knee was a little messed up but you don’t make sharp cut in boxing so it didn’t hamper me. I just learned by sparring hundreds, thousands of rounds with pros in the city.

I also watched different guys—I’ve always been very perceptive. I’d pick up things from other coaches like from Virgil Hunter, Nacho Beristain, Freddie Roach, Abel Sanchez, and Nazim Richardson.

I had a coach named Kevin Carmody; I was 6’3” and maybe 155-160lbs. He taught me how to get into a stance to make myself big when a shorter guy would come at me. And I teach my guys that all the time. I’m just a real stickler for details. As you can see with Julian and Kyrone, even though they fight at weights close to each other, they have different styles. I know you can’t do the same things for everybody.

Do you think boxers are coached as well now as they were in years past? We see a lot of young fighters today missing the skillset that was once the norm.

I hear people say that all the time. And all I can say is that I don’t know because every case must be judged on its own. I will say is that fighters back in the day worked on their skills more. Fighters today work on athleticism and fitness because they want to look better as far as cuts. They’re coming down from higher weights so they concentrate on their physique looking better. But fighters back in the day worked on their craft, their ability to go 15 rounds, their skill.

Look at Joe Calzaghe’s dad, Enzo. What was he, a jazz musician? He led his son to be 46-0 with no background at all. Somebody may say, he can’t coach or what does he know about boxing but look at the job he did with his son. There are some good teachers out there that don’t have a promoter or manager to bring them the elite-level talent.

Looking at the sport today, what are the major areas you feel need to be addressed?

The biggest problem is PEDs. There is a PED epidemic in boxing and it needs to get cleaned up before somebody gets killed in the ring. People turn a blind eye to it because no one really cares if you have an enhanced product. Once they started testing fighters in UFC, certain guys weren’t coming around anymore. And in boxing, you see guys being inactive or not wanting to fight for the WBC title; A-side guys who don’t call for more testing. You see guys dropping 40lbs in training camp—you’re taking something to do that.

It’s obvious what’s going on. If the networks enforced VADA testing or you couldn’t fight on their station, that would help solve the problem. You’re doing damage to a human body and to put something in you that makes you faster and stronger shows a lack of integrity and it’s criminal.

Aside from PEDs, I think the biggest problem is the media. These guys draw sides, get credentials and take money to give certain fighters and their teams a platform. They’re so biased. Then there’s racism. It’s just disgusting what goes on in the media and believe it or not, they do influence fights being made. It’s like propaganda: If you keep saying something repeatedly, people are going to start repeating it.

It’s clear boxing’s ailments concern you, but what are your goals in the sport?

I just want to continue to learn, acquire knowledge from everyone and then apply it through trial and error. I feel like I’m still growing. Right now, I just have two fighters. Your time is invaluable so I don’t want to deal with a kid who won’t be in the gym when I want them there, who won’t work on the things that I need them to work on. Julian and Kyrone are the apple of my eye. I want to see them win world titles.