Kody Davies: “I haven’t had a payday from boxing for 14 months so I had to start a full-time job on a building site.”
By Will Lott
A decorated amateur, Wales’ light-heavyweight prospect Kody Davies currently holds a 10-1 record having turned over to the pro ranks in 2017. As with most fighters, Davies found boxing early.
“I started boxing at the young age of around 11 or 12 years old. I won the Welsh championship and got brought onto the Welsh boxing team. I won numerous Welsh championships and was selected for trials for Team GB. I had Podium potential at GB and moved up to the Podium squad before I turned pro with former world champion Gavin Rees.”
As with many fighters, Davies’ amateur career has been important in helping him turn over from amateur to professional.
“I gained a pedigree as an amateur before. For me as an amateur I boxed all over the world, I boxed world champions, Olympic champions and I gained all the experience I could have possibly gained before turning over. So, I felt I was well equipped and well prepared to go all the way as a professional.”
Despite all his successes at amateur level, Davies never fought at the Olympics.
“I didn’t get the chance to go to the qualifiers and rather than wait for four years, I decided to turn pro. The only thing I didn’t do as an amateur was go to the Olympics. I didn’t want to wait four years to go to one tournament which isn’t a given anyway. I thought the time was right and I’ve never looked back since.”
Former WBA super-lightweight world champion Gavin Rees has been a family friend of Davies’ for years and has been training the light-heavyweight since before he turned pro. Davies explained how Rees became his trainer.
“It was at a Welsh boxing tournament as an amateur and my Dad’s corner licence had run out so they wouldn’t let him be my cornerman. Fortunately, Gavin was in the crowd. He’s a family friend, so my Dad approached him, asked if he’d help and he obliged, and we’ve been together ever since.”
As he explained about how their working partnership came about, it became clear how much he values their relationship and the importance of consistency with regards to trainers. A turnover in coaches is a common sight in boxing when a fighter suffers defeat, but it is clear Rees and Davies have a relationship to be appreciated.
“I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, Gavin is more than a trainer to me, he’s family. To have someone like that in your corner it means the world. I’m lucky and blessed to have that situation and I think he can take me all the way.”
Within a year of turning over, Davies had found himself with an impressive 8-0 record and had fought in York Hall, the O2 and even out in Los Angeles.
“I remember reading in the Boxing News that I was the most active professional in the UK excluding the journeymen fighters. My first year as a pro, I think on average I boxed once every 31 days.”
Tragedy struck early on in Davies’ career with the sudden passing of his older sister Jade in 2019.
“She’s a massive part of my life, not just my career but my whole life. She taught me things, she showed me things and she’s a massive inspiration and my biggest fan. If you type her in on Instagram all the posts are about me. She was my biggest fan inside of boxing and outside of boxing. It turned our whole family’s life upside down. All I can say is anything good that comes out of me or my career is all for my sister Jade.”
A few months later saw Davies earn his biggest win to date against Zak Chelli at York Hall in a British title eliminator. A fight he won comfortably despite being dropped for the first time.
“It was a gutsy performance. I got caught early on and actually got dropped in round 2. It was the first time in my career that had happened. I gained masses of experience from the first six minutes of that fight.
“Fortunately, I had Joe Calzaghe and his son Joe Calzaghe Jr ringside. I remember out in New York watching Joe box Roy Jones Jr and he got dropped early on. He got back up and he boxed his arse off the entire fight. When I looked over and saw him there, I remember thinking there’s a déjà vu. That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to do the same and that’s exactly what I did.”
But now Davies finds himself at a bit of a crossroads having not fought since suffering his first defeat to Umar Sadiq 14 months ago, a fight he took at super-middleweight.
“It was always a question I had. I came down from 91kg boxing as an amateur which is heavyweight. We moved down to light-heavyweight and it was a completely different world for me being there and we did it quite easy. We decided to push it one step further which didn’t work out but it’s early on in my career and I’m glad we answered that question.”
A lack of activity also played a role in the decision to take the fight.
“To be inactive and to not get a pay day for such a long time and to then come back and go down a weight after winning a British title eliminator at light-heavyweight, it was doing things backwards. As a team we made a collective decision to take that fight. It wasn’t the right decision, but it was pretty much all we had on the table at the time. So, we went ahead and unfortunately it didn’t work out for us.”
Still inactive and with the country plunged into lockdown, Davies was left with a decision to make. With no payday incoming from boxing, he did what many fighters will have done in recent months and found a full-time job on a building site.
“I was living off boxing. I had a few great sponsors who were funding my journey. I was fighting regularly so I was topping up the pot all the time. Then suddenly, Covid strikes, and I’m forced to stop training. I haven’t had a payday from boxing for 14 months so I had to start a full-time job on a building site.”
Now Davies’ is back training full time and waiting on a fight date.
“I decided to take matters into my own hands. I thought to myself this isn’t what I want to do. I need to make some changes, so I jacked in my job and I started training three times a day again. As hard as it’s going to be financially it’s just something I’m going to have to do. Sam Jones and Adam Morallee, my managers are working very hard to get me these fights and I’m pretty sure it’s going to come off.
“When’s that going to be I don’t know, but I trust my management and I’m sure they’re going to pull it off… Sam’s a passionate guy. He wears his heart on his sleeve and he’s done great for my career. He got me out to LA, and he got me to London to fight in the O2. He’s worked wonders.”
Hopefully, with light finally at the end of the tunnel, it will be sooner rather than later when Davies can dust off the cobwebs and get his career back on track.