Charlie Edwards’ New Trainer Won Over by Fighter’s Hunger

Charlie Edwards’ New Trainer Won Over by Fighter’s Hunger

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Stephen Smith was most impressed by Charlie Edwards’ desire when he was asked to guide his career.

On Friday at London’s York Hall, Edwards will fight for only the fifth time in five years – and for the first time since recruiting Smith to be his new trainer and becoming self-managed in an attempt to revive the career that once promised so much.

Edwards, 31, a former flyweight titleholder, will also be fighting at bantamweight, and against France’s Georges Ory, he will seek to make the nature of statement that proves that the political landscape that contributed so much to his inactivity is no longer holding him back.

While his career suffered, Charlie also watched his younger brother, Sunny Edwards, reign as a flyweight champion. Smith, one of four boxing brothers himself and someone familiar with the wider picture of how a fighter can be undermined, believes all of it has fueled Charlie.

“He comes in and he’s just driven,” Smith said. “He’s so hungry to go out there and achieve his goals. It’s a pleasure for a coach having someone like that come in your gym. My biggest job’s holding him back and making sure he stays fresh.

“It’s more surprising – the fact that it’s a former world champion. He’s ticked off the bucket list, really. That hunger for someone like that is amazing, really. It’s been a nice surprise to see it up close, how driven he is. It’s a pleasure to be a part of.

“When he approached me about me training him, it was the first conversation, really. ‘What’s been going on?’ The shit he’s been through, it’s not nice. It’s frustrating. It’s every fighter’s worst nightmare to be in the gym and training [and waiting for a fight]. He’s so fit. He’s always in the gym, but not able to fight because of stuff going on outside the ring.

“It’s not nice to see, never mind for him to go through. That can make fighters turn away from the sport. But he stuck to what he knows. He stayed in good shape. The fact he’s lived such a clean life is gonna tell.

“I had a lot of it. I had court cases to get away from one manager; I moved promoters. I felt like I got a new lease of life once it was done and behind me. It’s an inconvenience for a fighter. Most of us aren’t knowledgeable about court cases and stuff like that.”

Ory, 32, is the former European champion.

“[Edwards] was quite close to me youngest brother Callum,” Smith said. “[They were] similar ages on the GB [amateur setup]. We’d always say hello.

“I rated him very highly. I’ve seen him come through from the amateurs to the pros, knowing how good he is and what he can do. There’s nothing he can’t do in my opinion. He’s a very well-rounded fighter. Having worked with him, I rate him even more.

“It was January when we linked up and started training together and it’s been a pleasure since.

“It wasn’t a case of trying to teach Charlie how to box – he’s a former world champion. There’s nothing he doesn’t do well. He’s a very well-rounded fighter. It was more about working on his strengths and getting him back fresh and raring to go. Tweaking a few things, but ultimately using what he’s good at. He’ll hopefully be able to showcase that Friday.

“It’s a big statement to be made, in terms of people’s opinion of him – and that’s only down to inactivity and the things he’s been through in the past, where he’s been kept out of the ring. Now he’s back, he’s able to fight, he’s in good shape and he’s in a good position. He can showcase his talent and how good he is.”

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