Interview: Tony Davis, National Coach, Bahrain Boxing Federation

Gulf Insider interviews Tony Davis, National Coach, Bahrain Boxing Federation.

How did it feel to be back in Bahrain after overcoming your recent struggle with Covid-19?

The flight from Istanbul to Bahrain was an emotional one. It was like coming back home. I had a lot of warm messages including one from Shaikh Khalid saying “welcome back”.

It was a relief to finally get away from that horrendous episode, and sort of come back to my Bahraini family, where I belong.

Can you tell us your experience in helping establish Bahrain’s boxing federation from ground up?

When I first arrived on 1st December 2018, I really didn’t know what to expect.

Two weeks after my arrival, I was invited to the Bahraini Mixed Martial Arts Federation where I started taking some notes. During this time, I realized that what they thought was boxing – wasn’t boxing.

They weren’t very familiar with the basic rules and regulations, such as duration of rounds, equipment, attire. Their attire didn’t suit that of a sporting nature as rules dictate. They didn’t have the right kits. This is when I realized that they were missing one important aspect – education.

I was able to provide education by facilitating a coaching course in 2019 where we successfully qualified 30 new coaches.

Qualifying for the Olympics in the field of boxing is a first in Bahrain’s history and we’re sure that the pressure is immense. How is your journey in preparing Danis Latypov for the Olympics? 

We took Danis to Ukraine for his first tournament in 2019. He struggled a little, but we persevered with training camps and competitions.

With the immense support of the Bahrain Olympic Committee & HH Sh. Salman, President of the Bahrain Combat Sports Council, we were able to facilitate all of the plans for competitions & training camps – without this, Olympic qualification would still be a dream.

We also would have been going to the Asian Qualifiers, which would have taken place in Wuhan back in February 2020 right at the epicenter of the pandemic.

This was moved to Amman, Jordan where Danis dispatched South Korea in a short time– this was how he ended up qualifying for the Olympics. He also had the opportunity to meet the world champion.

His qualifying for the Olympics was a huge step for Bahrain boxing and Bahrain itself.

Any notable struggles and achievements?

I have been very fortunate to utilize my experience and leadership to direct Bahrain boxing and see its success. Effectively, in 2 years, we saw a rapid rise in boxing development in the Kingdom.

I was very fortunate to be given the direction by HH Sh. Khaled, which enabled me to utilise my experience & leadership to build boxing here in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

I can certainly say that it has been quite a journey. It was tough at times, but when I look back, I look back with pride. However, our job is not done. The hard work is only about to begin.

Are there any other prospects that you are training right now?

Yes. We have appointed a new team captain, Ali Saeed – a young man with leadership and qualities that can aspire the next generation looking to take on the sport within the Kingdom. It’s all about managing motivation and mentality.

I see a successful future with him as well as Young Sayed Fadhel who recently won Gold at the Ramadan Tournament last week in Dubai. With the right coaching, he can be very successful. There are also few more developing too.

What’s the best moment of yours being a coach?

I have two best moments that I can think of – one was with Great Britain, when I was looking out for the World Series of Boxing team, known as the British Lionhearts.

We boxed against France in Newport to finish Top of the world’s top series boxing league. We went out there and got beat in the first two bouts. We thought we were going down, but we ended up winning the last three bouts. We finished top of the league.

The second one was having Danis qualify for the Olympics. It just goes to show that all that planning and hard work through a very bumpy journey really paid off.

Any exciting news that you’d like to share?

We are currently in the UK until mid-June, just getting ready and preparing Danis in the best way for success in the Olympics. We are only moving to camp next week and that’s where the hard work starts.

We will be training 3x a day, analyzing his previous bouts and sparring here in Sheffield, nutrition plan, focusing on his strengths and working on weaknesses. This will be a great preparation camp as GB Boxing have one, if not the best, World Class Performance Programme in the world.

It will feel a bit weird going back to my old workplace, but this will be the start of a great relationship between GB Boxing & Bahrain Boxing.

I have a nice surprise for later in the year for everyone in Bahrain – it was a thought I had whilst laying in my hospital bed in Istanbul, with the thought of giving back to Bahrain. Bahrain was there for me in my hour of need and that I will always be thankful for!

Bahrain Boxing Achievements & Timeline

  • 16 Gold medals
  • 2 Silver medal
  • 4 Bronze medals
  • 2 Best Boxers


March – Facilitated first ever coaching course, qualified 30 coaches

April – International boxing debut at Asian Elite Boxing Championships with 2 boxers (1 male & 1 female) in Bangkok, Thailand

May – 5 Medals at UAE Ramadan Tournament: 2 Gold, 3 Bronze + Best Boxer

June – Staged ‘Battle of Bahrain’ with 25 bouts

July – Entered first European Tournament in Odessa, Ukraine

August – Asian Schoolboy Championships in Kuwait, ran training camp alongside competition

September – Staged first ever Dual International ‘Bahrain vs Kuwait’ and beating Kuwait 6-3, won Best Boxer

October – Won first international bout and ran training camp alongside competition, Asian Junior Championships in Fujairah, UAE

November – Won 5 gold medals at Sovereign Boxing Championship in Dubai, UAE


January – Won first International Silver Medal at Europe’s Strandja Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria and training camp & competition

March – Asian & Oceania Olympic Qualification Tournament in Amman, Jordan


March – Won Bospjurous Tournament in Istanbul, Turkey after 3 bouts

 – Qualified for Olympic Games due to IOC rankings

April/May – Great Britain Boxing Camp in Sheffield


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