Those who had seen Ishmael Davis progress during his long string of appearances at the Leeds United Banqueting Suite weren’t in the slightest bit surprised by the impressive way in which the unbeaten junior middleweight took apart Ewan McKenzie on his television debut last November. But they all leaned a little further forward in their seats when the bell rang to start his fight with tough former British champion Troy Williamson in March.

Having been beaten by Josh Kelly and Caoimhin Agyarko, a desperate Williamson looked like providing the slick, smart Davis with a genuine test but if onlookers were wondering how the 29-year-old would deal with the step up in competition, Davis had absolutely no doubts.

“I knew I belonged there anyway. I’ve been there in the gym and I’ve been sparring ex-world champions and high-class operators. I knew I had it in me. I’m a fighting man and I don’t believe another man can beat me. That’s how I go into every fight,” Davis told BoxingScene.

Davis, 13-0 (6 KOs), beat Williamson comfortably over 12 rounds. The fight was a final eliminator for the British junior middleweight title and the way Davis handled his business was impressive for a fighter who had only one amateur fight and who made the decision to dedicate himself to the sport as he sat in a prison cell.

Davis entrenched himself in professional boxing and he has developed the type of relaxed, patient style that comes from learning his craft alongside quality, experienced fighters. Davis is happy and alert in the pocket and has so far shown the flair and imagination to pry apart stubborn defenses but, although he may have been confident in his ability before the fight, completing the 12-round distance has bolstered his self-belief even more. 

“I learned a lot. I’d never done more than eight rounds so I learned how to pace myself through a fight and I know that I can do more now,” he said. “It was like stepping into the unknown, but now I know I’m fit enough for 12 rounds, I’m ready to build on it and be a bit more aggressive. Obviously, Troy’s a hard man to get rid of – that’s why nobody has done it. My future opponents are gonna get it though.

“It’s like doing a new circuit. The first time you do it is all unknown, you’re unsure what’s happening or what’s coming next. The next time you do it, you’re a bit better at it. I’m ready now.”

The victory earned Davis a promotional deal with Matchroom, but if you think that the security of a contract may dull his edge slightly, you would be wrong. Davis isn’t the type to rest on his laurels. Former British champion Josh Kelly is the class of the domestic junior middleweight scene, but Davis has surveyed the rest of his British rivals and doesn’t see anybody worth losing any sleep over.

“I’m going the British route. I want to win the British but also win it outright. Then I want to go on to the European. That’s just the plan we’re going with,” Davis said.

“Everyone’s fit, aren’t they? The difference is your IQ and your boxing brain. I don’t think anybody’s gonna be touching me, really. I’m very confident in myself. I think all boxers should be confident anyway. I don’t look at another man and think, ‘Oh yeah. He’s this or that.’ I might look at somebody and think that I might have to bring a few different tools out of the toolbox, but there’s nobody really who I’m scared of or thinking may beat me.

“There’s a lot that people haven’t seen that they’re about to see. Be ready.”

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