Davis began boxing when he was just nine-years-old, after his mother took him and two of his brothers to the gym. They were constantly fighting each other and fighting in school. After about an hour of watching two kids around his age spar his mother asked if they wanted to sign up. The next day Keyshawn and his two brothers were in the gym training.
Since then, Davis has won numerous titles and is now on his first elite high-performance squad following his win at the 2017 USA Boxing National Championships. Following that win, he has made Colorado Springs, Colo. a second home, as he spends a great deal of his time training at the United States Olympic Training Center.
Training for his first year at the elite level began with one of the largest multi-nation training camps USA Boxing has ever hosted. Davis got the opportunity to spar with not only his American teammates, but boxers from Great Britain, New Zealand and Poland. The preparation led to one of his proudest moments of his young career, his first elite international tournament and title at the Strandja Tournament in Bulgaria.
“It was a very different experience, being that it was my first time out of the country,” stated Davis. “I really had to get used to the different environment, especially the time difference, as it threw off my sleep schedule at first.”
However, he did not let anything distract him from reaching the top of the podium.
“The feeling was just so unreal,” said Davis about his gold medal performance in Bulgaria. “I told myself that this is just one gold and I need to be standing here after every tournament. It was just a great feeling.”
Shortly after his winning performance in Bulgaria, Davis was back in the ring representing Team USA on the USA vs. IRL Northeast Boxing Tour. Only fighting in one of the three stops of the tour, Davis made every minute of it count, as he pulled off another impressive victory in front of a large number of American fans.
However, before the success came struggles.
“I am a kid from Norfolk, Va. that started with nothing; Just my mother and her five children,” stated Davis.
“As life went on, I kept getting better in the ring, but outside the ring was horrible, from anger problems to getting sent to a mental institution,” continued Davis. “I would’ve never thought I would be in the position I am today, so I thank God that he blessed me with all my supporters; from my sisters, Shanice and Shantel Davis, also my brothers, Keon and Kelvin Davis, and of course my mother, Wanda Davis. Without them I wouldn’t be here today. I am a walking miracle and I just want to show the world what Keyshawn Davis really can do.”
Helping Keyshawn get past his struggles has been his coach who has been there from the beginning, Kay Korma, as well as 2016 Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson.
“Last year when I was put in the mental home, they were both right there pushing me to get back on track,” Davis stated. “They never gave up on me or doubted me. They always knew what I was capable of, even though I was in a bad place.”
Another source of motivation and help came from another teammate, Troy Isley, who has been there by his side getting to experience Keyshawn’s first year as an elite with him.
“Troy has been a huge help for me during my first year on the elite high-performance squad,” mentioned Davis. “He has been telling me what foods I might need on a trip to help me maintain weight.”
When Davis went to Bulgaria for his first international tournament, Troy was there representing Team USA with him. “He told me how he felt his first time fighting internationally, and I just took all his information and used it to my advantage.”
Now the goal is to continue training and being successful at the international level. He has hopes of becoming an Olympic Champion in 2020 and being able to give back to his family.
“My biggest motivation is just to give my family a better life.”
With one gold under his belt, Davis will look for his second international title at the 2018 Chemistry Cup later this month. You can continue to follow his journey to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics through social media via Instagram (@keyshawndavis1) or SnapChat (@key4999).