You can’t put in what God left out, but luckily for Jonathan O’Brien you can teach the fundamentals of boxing.
The former Irish middleweight champion has recently taken charge of Sky Sport’s darling Joe Laws training and admits a total strip back is needed.
After a shock defeat to Rylan Charlton in Peterborough late last month, the Lanzarote based coach wants the Newcastle native to start a fresh.
O’Brien is confident if he can add some basics to the bravery and balls Laws boasts naturally he will have a star on his hands.
“Listen, there are two things boxers need that you can’t teach, heart and balls, and Joe Laws has plenty of them,” he said in defence of the recent victim of a surprise defeat.
“You can teach anyone how to box, but you can’t teach those. There is a big future and big 2021 coming for Joe Laws believe me in that.”
While O’Brien has been impressed with the dedication, application and fighting spirit of the Geordie, he does feel a reboot is needed in terms of boxing.
“I’d like to see him start fresh, start in four rounders again and learn the basics.
“We just go back to the drawing board and start again fresh. He needs to learn basic boxing and I am the man to teach him. That’s a coaches task. A coach has to get his fighters ready, but I can’t work a miracle in three weeks. There is a lot a lot of work to do for Joe Laws, but there is a great team out here to help and get him through it.”
The social media reaction to Laws reverse did prompt some to express concern.
Some felt it was too harsh, at times personal and the kind of abuse that could effect the fighter.
O’Brien claims Laws took the criticism on the chin and claims it’s something every boxer will have to deal with considering the current climate.
“The stick didn’t effect him at all. He has just brushed it off, he knows what he has to do,” adds O’Brien.
“The stick he got on social media … look it everyone is going to get that. That’s boxing it’s part of the game. Joe is an entertainer, when he wins everyone loves him when he loses they all attack him.”
It may seem a bit cold from the coach, but it appears any criticism is softened by the fact the team are aware of what needs to be fixed – and are confident if issues are addressed redemption awaits.
“Look, he gets his head down and will be back ready with a new Joe Laws in 2021. It will be a big big year for the kid, their are big announcements coming for the kid, so it’s all good.”
Reflecting on a performance that saw Laws dropped three times en route to stoppage defeat, O’Brien, who also coaches Fracny Luzoho and Paul McCullagh, felt his fighter wasn’t 100 percent.
“He was only with me for three weeks, he came over to Lanzarote and we were just working on new things. You can’t change a fighter in just three weeks, so I didn’t try and change too much, we were just working on little things.
“He wasn’t 100 percent for that camp. I am not taking away from Rylan or his victory, he did what he had to do, but that was nowhere near 100 percent Joe Laws in that ring. I don’t want to make excuses, whats is important is we know that.”