The Power of the Fighter is in his Heart and Mind, Every movement begins in the heart.
Le Globless is looking for very interesting personalities in the Business Investment World & Leaders; unique personalities with a brilliant mind who are not only leaders, strategists and successful people. They also excel in humility and decency. Very special leaders such as Mr. Tony Davis, National Coach – Bahrain Boxing Federation.
Are there common characteristics among strong Leaders and strong Boxers?
Martial arts and leadership have many features in common. The main one is inner strength. Perseverance, determination, hard work, renunciation, respect, esteem, zeal and strong motivation. Tony Davis is one of the best coaches in the world. He trains strong fighters, men and women with huge potential, future winners, professional boxers and Olympic champions. The fact that he is a great coach is confirmed by his amazing results, as well as the fact that he trains future coaches. He builds the minds of young men and women and prepares them for hard blows in the ring.
Le Globless: A few years ago, you got one of your life’s biggest challenges. An offer from Bahrain, from H. H. Sheikh Khaled Bin Hamed Al Khalifa himself, who is behind the whole project. You are even his personal trainer. At the same time you are something like a Bahraini hero, because you are part of the birth of Bahraini boxing. How did this story with boxing and Bahrain begin?
Mr. Tony Davis: No hero, just a guy that likes to make things happen and evolve! It has been a challenge, challenge is good and nothing ever comes from comfort zones.
,, It was a challenge, and challenge is good, nothing ever comes in the comfort zone.”
Before I came out here to Bahrain, it took me two months to make a decision and it made me a bit uncomfortable. Do I actually leave my dream job in GB boxing to move to another country? It was a step into the unknown………..!
On reflection, I can look back and say I am proud what has been achieved and in record time really.
Here I have been able to employ all the leadership, planning and preparation skills to build this. Of course, We have been able to implement a Coaching Structure and an Officiating Structure to complement the sport here in Bahrain. The education from from these 2 elements are paramount as they are the backbone of the sport. Unfortunately, there is no shortcuts in boxing, it takes time, sweat, discipline, courage and application to get to a particular standard to compete on the International stage.
For the Bahrain Boxing Federation, this was formed in April 2019 and we made our International debut by attending the 2019 Asian Men & Women Elite Championships in Bangkok, Thailand. This was essentially to raise the flag of Bahrain as no one had heard of Bahrain Boxing.
The fact that we have managed to accomplish 16 Gold, 2 Silver and 4 Bronze Medals in the last 2 years is pretty amazing really. I suppose you can write a year off due to the Pandemic, however it just goes to show how busy we have been. Also a monumental bit of history has been created, whereby, on Thu 18 March 2021 we received Official news from the International Olympic Committee that Bahrain had qualified for the Olympic Games in Tokyo and will be the sole country from the GCC that will be represented in Boxing at the Games.
Le Globless: How did this story with boxing and Bahrain begin?
Mr. Tony Davis: What happened was: Many years ago back in 2007 when H. H. Sheikh Khaled Bin Hamed Al Khalifa was just 18 years old, he came to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and I was there as a Physical Training Instructor & Boxing Coach. In 2017, I was in London with the British Lionhearts Team (GB Boxing) at a PR event in Houses of Parliament in Westminster. On our way out we were caught up in a Terrorist attack, where I found myself take an active role in it. There was a lot of media coverage about it and that is how I came back to the attention of HH.
I was invited out and offered a role and that was basically it in a nutshell.
“Once I made the move out to Bahrain in Dec 2018, I was invited to observe a tournament which I was told was a boxing tournament, but it wasn’t. It was a multi-sports event with a multitude of different combat sports – when it came to the boxing, I thought there was a lot of work needed to ensure the rules & regulations were followed as set out by the World Governing Body.”
Very quickly I understood there was a mis-conception about the sport of boxing. So first, what I did was facilitate a coaching course. I quickly stabilized ourselves by setting up a National Team and build a routine, with rules to understand my philosophy, and then we could start learning. Everyone has a different style of coaching and leadership. So i did take a bit of time to gel with everyone.
Being a National Coach means you must hold a Three Star (3*) qualification ideally, as you must be at 3* to attend the Olympic Games and it takes years to achieve this level building up experience and most of all continue to learn!
Le Globless: Just a few days ago you came back from Turkey, you were in bed for a month. How do you feel, and what about the Olympic Games?
I feel better every day, but i understand it will take some time to fully recover – it really was a bad episode and nearly passed away! Had it not been for Sh. Khaled & The Bahrain Olympic Committee I would not be answering these questions.
Bahrain made history when the IOC officially confirmed in March that our boxer Danis Latypov will represent Bahrain and the only country from the GCC to represent Boxing at the Olympic Games. This was down to his performances prior to the Pandemic at the Asian Olympic Qualifier. We are currently at my old workplace, GB Boxing in Sheffield, England preparing for the Games.
Le Globless: Can you see at first glance whether he or she will be a good boxer?
Mr. Tony Davis: No, I believe it takes time as you may see initially that an athlete has talent, but there are many factors that will confirm that they will be good, such as Heart, Motivation, Discipline, Attitude, Coach ability and Resilience etc.
,,It’s a balance between a lot of important details. And that is the role of the coach. Sometimes, boxers love themselves. That is great, because it sometimes motivates them to reach a higher level in combat. But sometimes they think they know more than you do. “
Le Globless: Please, Tony, what are the most important qualities of good boxers and how do you motivate a boxer to perform at his best? Does the same motivation apply to everyone?
Mr. Tony Davis: Every boxer is different, so you cannot motivate everyone with the same tool, you need to know what makes that boxer tick (what works for them).
Mindset: Mindset is crucial. The mindset in Bahrain is a lot different as the culture is totally different, however there is no cultures in sport, so I try to implement some of the ingredients to ensure they have the mindset to compete, then it will transcend into a winning mindset. Psychologically they have to be ready, this can mean the difference to performing at their best or not.
Technique: Technique is very important as boxing on the International stage is very, very different to competing domestically.
Heart: Heart is very important, as boxing is not for everyone and when things get tough and they do not go your way, you will be required to fight your way out of the trenches.
Resilience: The ability to fight through adversity and have a degree of mental toughness.
Le Globless: How do you recognize a strong warrior, a strong potential in a man or woman who has not fought before? Are there any key traits that warriors have?
Mr. Tony Davis: I feel that it is very difficult to recognize strong potential without ever seeing them spar or compete. Many a time I have witnessed strong, physical people think that they can actually get in the ring and do whats needed, but they never can due to missing a few of the topics we have already mentioned
,,Heart ,, Well, I think in a nutshell ,, they need to have a good heart. “Because, when you get a good stuffing in boxing and then you don’t have a good heart, you will just be fall to pieces.”
Sending an unprepared fighter to a competition is a huge risk and that is the role of the Coach. It is the duty of the Coach for the responsibility of the boxer, in terms of their care & welfare in any given situation in the sport.
Le Globless: What are your next plans and what is your life goal that fulfils you and makes you happy?
Mr. Tony Davis: My next plan is the Olympic Games, as I alluded to earlier. This time last year we were still planning on trying to qualify for the Olympic Games, now we are planning on being successful at the Games. As well as looking after the other members of the National Team and planning their competitions and at the same time we are looking for investors who would like to support young talents.
There is still a lack of money in this sport, especially at the beginning, when a boxer does not have much experience, he needs a lot of money. There are many talents in the world, but many of them disappear only due to lack of resources. My job is to try and support talent and raise funds for growth.
Back in 2000 a boxer called Audley Harrison won an Olympic Gold Medal at the Sydney Games for Great Britain (GB). There was little or no money in the sport, however his gold medal signified a huge turning point, whereby the sport was allocated additional funding for Boxing – Grassroots to Olympic level. This helped the sport, especially myself, as I was a boxer trying to compete for qualification in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. However only Amir Khan qualified from our team that cycle. That said the funding allowed us to train full-time etc and the cycle (2008 after us really benefitted from it, as they could travel to more competitions, training camps etc and they produced the best results in recent years. The GB Program has went strength to strength over recent years and is now acknowledged as one of the Best World Class Performance Programs in the World.
What makes me happy is having an impact on peoples lives, if I can help them in anyway by giving them life skills as well as teach them the art of boxing, then I guess I am achieving or at least doing my job. Testament to this, is whilst I was fighting for my life in hospital, a number of people got in touch with me and a lot of boxers I had the pleasure of being involved with not so long ago, many of them now Professional boxers, with some being World Champions in the making. For a lot of them to tell me I had made an impact in their lives is what genuinely makes me happy.
Le Globless: ,,Tony took a step into the unknown and lead from ground zero to build a foundation in boxing in Bahrain, in a culture that is very different to where he originates from, however the rapid growth and success Bahrain Boxing has achieved is no doubt down to his drive & passion for the sport. He calls the historical step of qualifying for the Olympic Games a truly Guinness Book of Records moment.
Tony leads young men to take them with them him in the most important moments of their lives. He experiences with them their pain, suffering, he puts his trust in them, they put their trust in him. It prepares them for a hard fight, where one blow means death.
He builds the minds of young people, teaches them how to work with their own minds and bodies. He helps them accept losses, hit hard and enjoy their victories.
He can motivate and support people regardless of status or background. Thank you for a pleasant conversation with Tony Davis. My respect and esteem for your work, Thank you.” Ivanka Vieriková