BEN DAVISON, the man behind Tyson Fury, is so obsessed with his dream of becoming one of the world’s leading trainers that he watches around six hours of boxing videos every day.
“This is more than a full-time job,” he says. “I don’t just turn up to the gym do a bit of training, go home, lie down and think, ‘lovely, that was’. My job is 24/7 and I get paid very well for it, I need to be putting in the hours, not just in the gym.
“I go back and watch boxing, watch boxing, watch boxing. Across the board, new fights, old fights or I might just watch someone training, watch how they balance or how they deliver a certain shot.”
Since he appeared in Billy Joe Saunders’ corner during the middleweight’s unconvincing WBO world title defence against Artur Akavov in December 2016, Davison has slowly emerged as one of the brightest young trainers in world boxing.
Davison’s star rose dramatically when Fury revealed he had chosen the youngster, who is five year’s his junior, to be his head trainer for his much-anticipated comeback. It has been something of a whirlwind for the former Stevenage Borough player but he explains it was no accident.
“Did I anticipate being in this position at this stage of my life? Yes I did. I genuinely did,” says Davison ahead of Fury’s clash with Otto Wallin at the T-Mobile Arena on Saturday.
“I said to myself ‘I want to be the youngest trainer to train a world champion’ and I think I did do that [when Fury was only given a draw against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder].
“I said that to myself when I was about 22. I went to do some personal training qualifications when I was about 17-18 and still playing football.
“Then I just carried on with that sort of stuff but I was always working with boxers, young amateurs and things like that. I just knew I had an eye for it. I was working with Billy Joe as well and that’s how it started.
“I used to spar Billy Joe. We were the same sort of age and he was that little bit above me obviously. The problem was that I was boxing as an amateur and he was up at southern area level as a pro.
“We would spar six rounds or something then he’d ask me to do a couple of rounds on the pads for him. We just developed from there really and the more we did it, the more he trusted my decisions. He trusted my judgement and asked me to work with him full time.”
It has meant that Davison has worked extensively with two of the best pound-for-pound boxers in Britain while still yet to turn 30 years old. He also served his apprenticeship working under Jimmy Tibbs during his days training Saunders.
“I had ability as a boxer but what Tyson Fury and Billy Joe have got is God-gifted,” he adds. “I feel like what I’ve got on the outside of the ropes, being able to see it and assess it, is a gift too.
“I look at a prospect and think ‘he does that unbelievably well’, it might be the one thing he does very well, and take it and add it to a particular fighter I’m working with. That’s my job, I study it.
“I would always ask Jimmy questions and in the end, he would be asking me questions.
“With Jimmy I didn’t learn bundles technically, that’s my natural gift, but with Jimmy I learned how to judge a fight, read a fight, round management. That’s a massive thing that doesn’t get taught. Being able to judge how much is left in the tank too.”
His role in Fury’s incredible weight loss, which has settled at around 10 stone in total, was a huge feather in the young trainer’s cap but he now faces a very different challenge with the heavyweight currently hell-bent on training at least twice a day for what he describes as the endorphin hit.
“I’m very very aware of over-training. I don’t like it, I’m always very wary of it,” says Davison. “I can see through results, statistics and using a heart rate monitor and from training with him every day. I can see how he’s feeling and assess how he’s feeling.
“If need be I’ll tell him to have a couple of days off – ‘that’ll do today’. I have to tell him off sometimes. Before when he was losing the weight and sparring I’d say ‘that’s enough for today’ because I could see he was tired and just getting through the rounds.
“He’d fly off the handle, ‘F****** hell! I hate it when you do that!’ But it’s not so much anymore, he trusts my judgement a lot more now.
“A massive part of it is mental and I know how to manage him mentally now a lot more. He’s an extremist so he’s either all the way up there or all the way down there and it’s very taxing for me because if he’s all the way up there I have to get up to that level to bring him down again.
“Then when he’s low you have to get down there with him, get deep, have a deep conversation with him to bring him back to the middle ground.”
Tyson Fury takes on Otto Wallin live on BT Sport Box Office this Saturday. The fight can be watched through BT Sport Box Office on BT TV, Virgin TV, Sky, online via the web or the BT Sport Box Office App.