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Ohara Davies: ‘Boxing is not going to use me. I’m going to use boxing’

Ohara Davies
Action Images/Peter Cziborra
At Repton boxing club Ohara Davies and Miguel Vazquez strike very different figures ahead of their clash at York Hall, writes John Dennen

OHARA DAVIES rolls up to Repton, the historic boxing club in London’s east end, in a sleek black car. It gives off every outward appearance of success. “OD” has fought in big fights, he’s made some money and has another payday looming tomorrow (Friday June 28) when he boxes Mexico’s former world champion Miguel Vazquez at York Hall. But he is a perplexing character. He can play the villain, even the fool. His outrageous comments on social media ultimately saw him leave the Matchroom promotional stable. He has been humbled, and today speaks respectfully of his next opponent Vazquez. A confidence in himself however seemingly hasn’t been diminished by defeats to both Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall.

“Vasquez,” Ohara tells Boxing News. “He’s a name and I believe that I’m one of the best boxers in the world and if I’m going to say something like that, if I’m going to believe something like that, I’ve got to feel it, I’ve got to get it back in my head. I’m not here to fight for six or eight rounds against a bum. I need to make some money, I need to be rich and boxing is the way that I’m going to do it.”

The losses he’s taken do still rankle. “It don’t matter who you lose to, as a warrior, as a fighter when you lose a fight there is shame. It don’t matter whether you lose against the best or against the worst, you lost and there is shame in that defeat. I still have shame to this day,” Davies said.

The Mexican, standing inside the gym, cuts a very different figure to the younger Briton. Vazquez is older, someone who’s been to the summit of the sport and now finds himself in London waiting meekly in this old amateur club. But he does not consider himself an opponent who’s been brought in to lose, nor does he see Davies as easy pickings.

“Ohara is a good fighter and he can have a good career but this Friday I will win. If I win, I don’t want Ohara [being run] down,” Vazquez said. “Ohara looks strong, looks good. No surprises because I am prepared for this fight. But I know that Ohara is coming 100% prepared too. In the ring there will be a very, very good fight.”

While Vazquez began boxing in Guadalajara, working his way up to championships and contests in America and in the UK, Davies started his education in the spot he stands on now.

Ohara Davies
Ohara Davies comes up short aganst Josh Taylor Action Images/Craig Brough

Looking over his old amateur club brings back memories for Ohara. “The first time I used to come out to the Repton I used to get a bus here. And sometimes I couldn’t afford a bus pass so I had to look on the floor, find old ones and cut out all the numbers. I had to get a bus from Hackney all the way to Bethnal Green. Sometimes it would take me about an hour because I’d get caught on the bus. And then I’d get kicked off the bus and have to wait for a new bus. Or sometimes I kept on getting caught so I’d have to walk. I’d get one bus and then walk all the way here,” Davies said. “This is where my skills got honed, and I became the person I am today. I’m now driving there.”

He has made mistakes, blown chances in the ring and blown money outside of it. He promises that he is now reformed. “I will say boxing is not going to use me. I’m going to use boxing. I know many guys, many boxers and boxing’s used them. They’ve left this game skint and with nothing because they’ve been deceived by the lights, camera, the action, the fame, the girls. That was me at a certain time, but now I’m a lot older. I’m a lot wiser. I’m ready to use boxing. I’m ready to use this game to get everything I want. And by the time I retire, I won’t have to work a day in my life. I won’t have to work an hour in my life,” he said. “I’ve made many mistakes, but luckily it’s better late than not doing it at all. I learned my lessons. I’ve learned my lessons and I’m ready to make the right ones.

“So let boxing fans keep on saying all the negative things that they want to say about me. But when it’s all said and done, I’m secure in myself and I’m securing my future.”

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