By Paul Mason
Hackney’s O’Hara Davies picked up a minor WBC Belt on the O2 card this past Saturday by stunningly knocking out the hapless Paul Kamanga with a monster right-hand in the second round, and it’s now getting to the crossroads of how far he can go in the sport.
Under his previous promoters, Matchroom, Davies was steadily progressed to fringe World level, picking up the English Title against Andy Keates (KO4) and then WBC Silver Super Lightweight Title by outpointing Andrea Scarpi at Wembley Arena in November 2016.
After backing this up with a solid third round stoppage against Derry Mathews, the wheels came off in spectacular fashion, after talking his way into a fight with the “Tartan Tornado” Josh Taylor. In a challenge for the Commonwealth Title, as well as defending his WBC strap, Davies was outgunned and bullied into a seventh round submission, causing the first loss of his career.
Davies got back on the horse two months later, stopping the previously unbeaten Tom Farrell in Liverpool in six rounds to pick up the WBA International Super Lightweight Title. This was to be his last fight under Eddie Hearn and Matchroom, after Davies was pulled from a proposed February fight with Hull’s Tommy Coyle at the O2 Arena, London, due to a series of offensive Social Media posts from Davies directed at Coyle. He was also suspended from trainer Tony Sims’ gym at this time.
He then promptly jumped ship to Frank Warren’s burgeoning stable, and made his promotional debut on the big Lee Selby v Josh Warrington bill at Elland Road, Leeds in May this year. However, a fight with the Frenchman, Christopher Sebire didn’t materialise, leaving O’Hara way down the bill in a routine non-televised six round points win over Ahmed Ibrahim, with a new training team headed by West Ham’s Carlos Moreno. Davies was originally scheduled to fight the unbeaten Josh Leather on Saturday nights O2 Arena card, but the Middlesbrough man has decided to take a break from the sport for personal reasons.
Before and after the Kamanga blow out, Davies has openly goaded and taunted rising star Jack Catterall, who faces Tyrone Mckenna on the big Belfast bill this Saturday in an intriguing contest. Davies has gone on record as saying he hopes the fight ends in “a draw or a double knockout” which seems confusing as he has previously indicated fighting Catterall. He has also described Catterall as “not a big thing on OD’s radar” He’s not a big name, doesn’t sell. He has stated his main focuses are getting his own back on his sole conqueror (Josh Taylor) and becoming world champion.
He went on to say in a recent interview that “Frank and MTK (who promote and manage both Davies and Catterall) seem keen to make the fight happen and, provided I come through on June 23rd and Jack comes through unscathed the following week in Belfast, it could be next for both of us. I’d certainly be ready for September”. Now that Davies came through unscathed on the weekend, all eyes will be on Catterall’s end of the deal this Saturday.
The tip at this point, with Catterall holding the ranking raising WBO Intercontinental belt, is that the winner of Catterall v McKenna will face Davies, and I would imagine with Warren’s WBO connections, this would then be an eliminator for the WBO World Title, currently held by Maurice Hooker, who classily beat Terry Flanagan only a few weeks ago. Davies has been more than vocal about taking on “Mighty Mo”. Davies sparred Hooker in the Mayweather Gym, Las Vegas in 2014, and after admitting he was nearly floored in the opener, Davies said that he dominated the next five rounds. It’s clear that Davies has targeted the WBO route.
One thing is for certain, that Davies isn’t short of an opinion, and it looks like in the coming months we will see if he can walk the walk as well as he talks the talk.