It is well known amongst boxing people that the sport is wide open to infiltration by those who know nothing but want to be associated with the glamour and prestige they think it gives them. Because of the accessibility of boxing and the lack of structure at a professional level, it can be the wild west of sports. So, I’m issuing words of caution for young boxers and those building towards success not to have their heads turned by the latest trainer on the block.
Now, I don’t necessarily subscribe to the view that all boxing trainers must have been professional boxers, this is easily disproved when you look at greats like Angelo Dundee and Cus D’Amato. More recently on UK shores, the likes of Shane McGuigan and Ben Davison have proved that on the job experience isn’t essential.
However, in my view, it is absolutely crucial that whoever the trainer might be, they have a passion and traceable timeline in the sport. When we look at the four examples above, each of them had substantial experience before they walked into the ring with world champions at their side.
Dundee was raised in the gym alongside older brother Chris who was a promoter at the time. D’Amato had some amateur experience and ‘lived in the gym for years’ before finding his first champion.
McGuigan has the pedigree of a former world champion as his father and time served in the gym environment. Even Ben Davison, who came under scrutiny when he first arrived on the scene, had been around boxing from a very young age and was raised by a father who had boxed. Time around fighters in the gym environment, learning from older trainers and observing fights is the best degree an aspiring trainer can get in the sport.
Young fighters then must look for these qualities in the trainers that try to bend their ear. They must speak to existing boxers who are further along than they are and retired boxers from their area.
Boxing is the greatest sport in the world and at all levels, we must work to ensure its safety and credibility.