Several trainers worldwide caught the eyes of Boxing Social’s army of contributors in 2021.
Brian ‘Bomac’ McIntyre’s achievement in tutoring Terence Crawford to become one of the best boxers in the world is often overlooked, and as such our panel felt he deserved a mention for helping WBO welter champ Crawford become the first man to stop Shawn Porter. It will be fascinating to see how blue-chip prospect Keyshawn Davis fares in Bomac’s stable.
There were two other trainers whose years were marked by standout victories which had an impact on our judges; SugarHill Steward continued to impress in his link-up with Tyson Fury, his calm head and simple instruction to “just jab the motherfucker” amid the chaos of Fury-Wilder 3 proving sage advice. Meanwhile Michael Akkawy not only devised a tactical masterplan to help George Kambosos dethrone Teofimo Lopez as lightweight king, but also succeeded in instilling the young Aussie with the self-belief to execute such a plan.
Tony Sims was another trainer to win plaudits from our panel, who noted the startling and marked technical improvements in Conor Benn this year, which can be credited to Sims’ tireless and patient work with the now 25-year-old welterweight prospect over several years. Felix Cash, who extended his unbeaten run by destroying Denzel Bentley in a fight many saw as a 50-50 showdown was another notable win for the Sims stable this year.
Ismael Salas was given a deserved mention by panel member and IBHOF inductee Graham Houston, who pointed out that he helped engineer impressive upset victories for Carlos Adames against Sergiy Derevyanchenko and Yordenis Ugas against Manny Pacquiao.
Ben Davison had perhaps the most impressive year of his young career, and was a strong contender for the award of Trainer of the Year. Davison – still only 29 – teamed up with Josh Taylor for the second time, helping the Scot unify the super-lightweight division against Jose Ramirez. Davison also continued to build his reputation after a surprise link-up with lightweight Devin Haney, who won twice under his tutelage in 2021. Perhaps Davison’s most impressive feat of the year though was helping Leigh Wood pull off a massive upset in defeating Xu Can for the WBA featherweight title.
However, in the end, despite the merits of those mentioned above, the Boxing Social panel were almost unanimously of the opinion that our Trainer of the Year award should go to Mexican guru Eddy Reynoso.
Not only did Reynoso lead his protégé Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez to three victories in 2021 – and the undisputed super-middleweight title – but he also oversaw Ryan Garcia’s spectacular victory against Luke Campbell, Oscar Valdez’s thrilling victory against Miguel Berchelt, two successes for heavyweight Frank Sanchez and Andy Ruiz Jr’s comeback win against Chris Arreola.
“Nobody can match his activity this year in terms of huge fights,” commented panel member Craig Scott, and the the majority of the panel agreed.