Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Johnathon Banks knows a thing or two about hardship, being tough, and pushing through despite it all. It is one of the first lessons in life that anyone who is from Detroit learns at a young age. Being a fighter is a way of life when you come from a place like Detroit. So it is of no surprise that Johnathon went into boxing, professionally, adding to the roster of many boxing greats that called Detroit home.
“It was something that I always wanted to do. So, I went into a rec center one day and signed up at 14 and I’ve been doing it since then,” said Johnathon. His journey grew from there after about a year of boxing and meeting his late mentor, Emmanuel Stewart, where Johnathon started travelling and doing tournaments with other amateurs under the wings of Emmanuel. “When 2000 came, Emmanuel Stewart came to the gym, sat me down and said, ‘Listen, I don’t think now is the time for you to turn pro, I think you need to get more experience as an amateur.’” Johnathon’s determination made him work hard and put in work toward his craft of boxing in order to be in a position to turn pro one day, “I said OK, I went on what he said and I worked hard, and won 3 or 4 national titles and I kept going. After that, he looked at me and said, ‘You’re ready’ and that was in July of 2004.”
Known as a champion and winning such designations as NABO Cruiserweight Champion, has afforded Johnathon the opportunity to grow within his career of boxing and train heavyweight world champion, Wladimir Klitschko. “It is one of those things that it comes to you. The opportunity presented itself,” Johnathon mentions in regards to how he began this new chapter of his boxing career of being the head trainer for Wladimi Klitschko after the passing of his mentor Emmanuel Stewart. “I’ve always said in life, if you are doing what you are supposed to do, you will always be in a position to accept whatever comes your way.” And that is exactly what Johnathon did.
Although Johnathon is focusing his efforts on training, he has not officially wiped out the desire from accepting matches for himself. “I’m training the best heavy weight in our generation right now, and he is on a 11 year run of being undefeated, dominating the competition. So no other fighter is dominating the competition like him, so it makes it harder,” Johnathon mentions in regards to the possibility of him getting in the ring and of being one of the youngest trainers of a heavy weight champion. “It’s difficult. But I take it how it comes to me. I love what I do. I do a lot of research and studying, and being around Emmanuel, I take a lot from that and it’s been good so far. I learned a lot from Wladimir as well,” Johnathon mentions in regards to the pressure of training one of the top boxers right now and growing his craft. With Johnathon being able to grow and use his current and past experiences to develop his craft, his peers and industry colleagues have taken notice. “So many of them are calling me right now, its coming to the point where I’m going to have to say yes. I do see myself doing it because the demand is so high. They see what I’m doing with him, and so they are seeing what we could do together.
With Johnathon’s growing success in his passion of boxing, his future, the way he sees it, will continue to involve boxing, “I see myself to continue to grow being a trainer and fighter.” He has plans of opening up another recreation center in Detroit where kids and adults that are interested in boxing can come and practice and learn to help with the growth and reconstruction of the city. Detroit definitely needs more people like Johnathon and we are watching to see what his next move will be to advance his career, those that he trains and the mark that his work will leave on the world.