Ben Day talks career so far, feeling young and not giving a f**k
By Michael J Jones
This Saturday Ben “The Entertainer” Day faces Portsmouth’s Ben Kneller at York Hall as he seeks to continue his undefeated run. So far, the Devon born light-welterweight has made steady progress in the pro ranks and is currently unbeaten in six contests (one draw), but the bare numbers don’t tell the full story as Livefight would quickly find out when interviewing the likeable prospect.
“Yes that’s right I’m 36 years old” confirms Ben when I query his age. “I’m 36 but I feel 22…they call me Benjamin Button because I look so young. Most people think I’m only 26 or 27.”
Day would only start boxing in his late 20’s. He originally began a career as a carpenter before a drink-driving wrap would change his life forever. With his world seemingly falling apart, he joined the local boxing gym and instantly fell in love with the sport.
“Boxing has definitely been life changing for me” the usually chirpy prospect says seriously. “I went through a lot of sh*t and misfortune with getting into trouble, being in debt and my Dad passing away. I was totally alone and you get to that low point and many could easily be broken but it’s also the best time to rebuild your life.”
“I feel behind every mistake there’s an opportunity” adds Day. “It’s been a struggle to succeed but I’ve worked very hard to get to where I am now. I’m an unbeaten pro and got my own boxing gym so I’m very busy and things are going great.”
After a brief foray into white collar boxing, the novice fighter was advised to try the pro ranks after impressing a BBB of C representative in sparring sessions at John Rooney’s gym.
“I was sparring top boys, title holders, and Mick Collier saw me moving around and asked if I wanted a licence. I didn’t even know what the f**k one was! I was just boxing like Naz being slippery and elusive but I didn’t know what I was doing.”
Despite his brief reservations, Ben would make his pro bow aged 32 three years ago with a four-round decision over the rugged Robin Deakin. He would then beat super-journeyman Kristian Laight just two months later. Day would register two wins over international opposition in 2012 before winning and drawing his only two contests of 2013.
I ask if he has been happy with his performances so far?
“I am very proud about my pro career but it’s also been a bit weird at times” says the 36 year old a little cryptically. “On paper I’ve been fighting journeymen but I think they’ve seen my age, record and the fact I had no amateur fights and they come trying to take my head off.”
“Some of these guys I know have to get a win here and there so they can keep their licences and that’s been the case a couple of times. Robin Deakin, who is a friend of mine now, was tough and awkward and came to win as did Kris Laight.”
In March of last year Day would face arguably his toughest test to date when squaring off against the vastly more-experienced Marc Callaghan over four rounds. He came through the test impressively taking the spoils by 39 points to 37.
“Marc Callaghan was going to retire if he didn't win, so used all of his experience and tricks but I boxed really well that night. I got p**sed off with myself for taking a couple of shots but even Callaghan said to me afterwards I’d boxed well and had a lovely jab.”
Unfortunately, the promising winner would surprisingly draw his only bout since when Stretford’s winless Paul Haines took him to the wire six months later. Day reveals his build up wasn’t what it could have been before the fight after spending time in the US for Floyd Mayweather Jr’s first contest with Marcus Maidana.
“I’d gone over there and did my training but I never sparred. Adrien Broner was there at the Mayweather gym killing everyone, I sh*t myself I said f**k that I’m not getting in with him!”
“I came home and thought I’d be OK but obviously I was tired from the jet lag. It was a close fight but I thought I nicked it but I’m not going to dwell on it.”
“I’ve also had a few problems staying active. One guy was 16lbs heavier than me (at the weigh in) so they stopped us from boxing. Another guy was supposed to come over to box me but never got on the plane. He actually did that twice and after I’d sold loads of tickets it was very frustrating but I think also the lay-off has done me good and now is my time to shine.”
Since his last bout some 15 months ago, Ben has begun training with Alec Wilkey’s team and has also signed with Goodwin promotions. Amazingly, after six pro contests, it’s the first time Day has had a regular trainer to guide him in his career.
“I did it all myself and didn’t know what the f**k I was doing half the time” chuckles Ben. “I never knew when to train, run, take a rest etc I just trained, fought and had a laugh. My improvement under Alec has been just incredible and I can’t praise him enough. I honestly don’t know how I got this far on my own before (joining Alec’s stable).”
I ask what improvements exactly have been made training with Team Wilkey?
“Well I box a bit like Prince Naseem and always tried to take what he did into the ring but Alec has had me sitting down on my shots more and has improved my technique a lot. He’s said I can carry on doing ‘that elusive sh*t’ on the outside but when I move into range it’s chin down, hands up.”
“He’s a good man too, we all go to his house for breakfast and things like that, I know he’s got my back and he puts a lot of time into all of his lads.”
Before starting the interview I was very surprised to learn Ben Day was 36 years young. Does he have a time-scale for his career with taking up boxing at a late age?
“No I’ve no time scale, that’s just putting pressure on myself” he replies. “All the armchair fans and nay-sayers will say this and that but they don’t know about the whole life-style of a boxer. I love boxing and I live a good lifestyle so how can that be bad?”
“I beat people in the gym, I beat them on the running track, younger guys I beat all the time so I can’t be doing bad can I? I’ve been in deep waters in my life - that hurts more than in the ring.
I’m in a better place now than when I was younger and I’m much more patient so f**k time I’ll make my own time. Im ripped yet some men my age are old looking, bald and fat as f**k haha!”
Ben also reveals he makes weight with astonishing ease…boxers who struggle for weeks before a fight to lose those vital last few pounds best skip the next few sentences…
“I’m a freak with my weight. I’ll be 10st 2 and I could go out and eat a big curry. Afterwards I’ll jump on the scales and be…10st 2! I always weigh the same no matter what.”
Ben’s next opponent will be Ben Kneller in a scheduled six rounder. With a 0-1 record, little is known of Kneller but confident Day is ready for his first fight under new trainer Wilkey.
“I don’t know anything about him really but I don’t give a flying f**k at this stage. I’m happy with my boxing and my training I just want to fight. Hopefully I’ll get another win, have a rest over Christmas and get back to it next year.”
It’s already been quite a story for Ben Day; from raw white collar boxer to an unbeaten pro light-welterweight and qualified personal trainer who owns his own gym and can count both Freddie Roach and Jeff Mayweather as star contacts (who he’s trained with numerous times in the States).
“I opened my gym four years ago and it’s doing very well” Ben tells Livefight as our interview nears its conclusion. “It’s the RingTone Boxing gym and we’re in Euston, Central London and it’s doing great. I’ve got no sponsors I’ve gone forward doing it all myself. If someone were to sponsor me they would be onto a winner because they could advertise through me and my boxing gym.”
For more info on Ringtone Boxing gym go to http://ringtoneboxinggym.com/
To follow Ben Day on Twitter click here @benday32
The action-packed show, ‘It’s Go Time’ will be broadcast live on Matchroom TV’s ‘The Fight Pass’ and features 16 scheduled fights including six title fights and a fantastic undercard with many talented prospects appearing.
An exciting clash for the vacant Southern Area Super-Featherweight title sees ‘Saint’ George Jupp take on Craig Poxton in an arguably evenly-matched 50-50 encounter on paper.
Larry ‘The Natural’ Ekundayo has his biggest fight to date going for a notable title over ten rounds with opponent and details still to be confirmed.
One half of the Evangelou brothers, Andreas ‘The Ace’ defends his International Masters light-heavyweight title over ten rounds.
Possibly the most tantalising of fights on the menu, Peckham’s Johnny Garton has his first major title fight at welterweight against Adam Battle vying for the vacant BBB of C Southern Area welterweight title over ten rounds.
Last, but by no means least, comes the brothers collectively known as ‘The Upton Clan’ trained by former world champion, Ricky Hatton. The trio from Hatton’s Manchester gym all fight on the same night for a second time in two months following their participation in Goodwin’s October show at the York Hall.
Antony Upton looks to continue the impetus set so far in his career with six straight wins and two KO’s coming in just 12 short months. The exciting light-welterweight has fought in three different countries and taken every round from the judges’ scorecards in the process.
Sonny Upton aims to bounce back from his disappointing loss last October at the York Hall to Gary Cooper. The 25-year-old light-middleweight was bizarrely waived off by referee Reece Carter in the first round without real cause to be. He goes up against Dee Mitchell over four rounds.
Eldest brother of the fighting trio, Paul Upton features in a four round middleweight contest against Duane Green whose name is already printed on his ledger after a shut-out points win last October at the same venue in what was his second pro fight.
For tickets to the show call 07816 823 586 or visit http://ringtoneboxinggym.com/
As well as standard, unreserved and reserved ringside tickets there are also VIP tickets priced at £100 which includes a guaranteed reserved ringside seat in rows one and two together with a free private bar from 5pm until 7.30pm with food snacks included.