Shaun was born in Birmingham in 1967. He spent most of his childhood life growing up in the Small Heath area. Naturally Shaun found himself becoming a member of the now locally renown Small Heath Boxing club. On an off chance a friend of his asked him if he wanted to go down to the local club to ‘have a look’, ending up spending 12 years with them. Shaun said ‘he never looked back’ from the first day he entered the gym, being instantly drawn to the sport and a life of boxing. The years he spent with Small Heath Boxing club were the years he spent as a boxer, only ever fighting for SHBC. His first memories of boxing were training at the Leisure centre in Small Heath on Munt Street. Every night Shaun and the other members would have to set up their own bags and assemble their own ring before a punch was thrown.
Shaun mentions the tough physical and mental challenges that beginners and young amateurs face when they chose to start boxing properly. He was quick to note that ‘it’s all about what you put in’, ‘some kids put the effort in and get somewhere, some kids don’t and don’t get anywhere’.
The discipline that Shaun likes to see from his fighters, which not always comes naturally to young boys and girls, is however something that can be learnt by engaging with the sport. Mayweather, Calzaghe, Marciano aside any glance at BOXrec.com will show spotted losses on near enough every single card. ‘You never got me down Ray’ (By remaining vertical Robert Deniro’s raging bull salvages a personal victory from 5 defeats out of 6 to Sugar Ray) is a line upon which many successful careers in the sport have been built. Coming back to training after getting your head kicked in sparring, or sacrificing a night out to wake up and run, overcoming psychical and mental challenges daily are fundamentals to the sport which are always over shadowed by World Championship belts and recorded nowhere on Boxrec.
Putting in the work in is just the first step on the ladder to success, but it is perhaps the hardest one. Shaun eventually won the Irish National Championship as an amateur. 33 years after his trainer Pat Benoson had done the same. Shaun felt that this was when the work had paid off for him. A moment he remembers fondly as his greatest achievement as a boxer. Shaun boxed 3 times over one weekend and flew back to Ireland the following weekend to win the Irish amateur title in 1987 at the age of 21 (Raging Bull stuff indeed!) His Irish vest and meddle still being held amongst some of his most prized possessions.
From 1970 to today Shaun has noticed a change in the style of boxing. From going forward, all out with aggressive upper cuts and punches to a more technical and thought out approach.
Shaun’s coaching career - Watching fighters like Mayweather is not like watching an artist paint. Art is pretty and supposed to excite its audience. Watching Mayweather was like watching a professor write a thesis. His research had been done, his methodology was fit for its purpose, and word by word, punch by punch every thing he put down had a purpose. He adapted his approach, would get into this pocket of a fighter and fire away from there. He crept into their world and owned it. Technical expertise are what Shaun believes rule the boxing world now. Owning two of his own gyms now, Shaun tries to carry this combination of work ethic, determination and technicality into Fight Den and Smokin Joe’s professional gym. He currently coaches 7 professional fighters, 1 unbeaten named Kelsey Baul who at the time of the interview was fighting for the Midland Area Title and Shaun Davis who previously boxed for the British title.