Home Boxing News Anthony Joshua explains reason for appointing Ben Davison as head coach

Anthony Joshua explains reason for appointing Ben Davison as head coach

Anthony Joshua (right) with Ben Davison

Former two-time unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 27-3 (24) revealed this week that he will be sticking with new trainer Ben Davison.

The 34-year-old Brit drafted in Davison to train him for his December clash with Otto Wallin that he won by fifth-round knockout after recognising there wasn’t enough time to travel to Texas for a full camp with his regular coach Derrick James.

Davison brought out the aggressive side of Joshua, something that fans and pundits say has been missing from him in recent years.

Joshua was pleased with the results too, revealing this week that the stopgap measure had become permanent.

“I believed that [training with] Derrick was like a process,” Joshua explained at the press conference on Monday to announce his 10-round fight against former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou 0-1 at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on March 8.

“He’s got an actual style of training and I had to adapt to his style, it was a process. And I’d just changed trainers; I’d been to Rob [McCracken], I’d been with Angel [Fernandez], [Robert] Garcia, now Derrick. I said to the boys: ‘I don’t wanna move again, I wanna make my bed and lie in it.’

“But the thing is, when I was back in the UK, I was in Finchley hitting the heavy bag on my own. They were like: ‘Why don’t you go and speak to Ben?’ He’s good, he’s given us some tips and me some tips, leading up to the fight that was supposed to be with Dillian [Whyte]. ‘Why don’t you just go and see him?’ I was like: ‘Na, na, na, na, I don’t wanna change, I’m pretty set on going to America.’ But I went and saw Ben, had a really good session.

“The reason I was able to gel with Ben is because he doesn’t try to change your style. He kind of looks at your attributes and adds to what you’re good at.

“I went to a stage where I was trying to change my style: a bit of back-foot boxing, box behind the jab, stick and move, not be explosive, control the pace, and stuff like that. But Ben was like: ‘That’s not your body type! You’re a fucking big unit, you’re explosive, go and knock fucking people out.’ Basically, work to your body type. So we got along in that sense. He gets it.”

Joshua continued: “I spoke to Derrick, he was cool. Obviously I’m not from America, so it’s hard, and the fight with Wallin came about with six or seven weeks of training; it just didn’t make sense, packing up again, finding the AirBnB, getting all my stuff in a fucking container out there. It didn’t leave enough time.

“So now I’ve found a new bed with Ben. I spoke to Derrick and said I’m gonna stay [with Ben] for this fight here, because we’ve got another six or seven weeks to go. We’ll work well. That’s kind of how it’s managed to become what it is now.”

Joshua left the door open to training with James in the future, but only if the American coach came to the UK.

“Yeah, [I’ll stick with Ben after this fight], unless Derrick is able to come and train me in the UK – even when I’m out of training camp,” Joshua said.

“If he can come to the UK and train me when I’m not in camp as well, we can continue. To get the full benefit from a coach, you don’t just train with them for a fight, because you’re training for a fighter [rather than] the coach teaching you his methods with no stress.

“I would never get the full capacity of what Derrick could give me; I’m doing him and myself a disservice.”