Doran aims to put himself in pole position to be made mandatory for Blackwell

Doran aims to put himself in pole position to be made mandatory for Blackwell

“I’d go anywhere and go against anyone to fight for the British title,” declared Connah’s Quay’s Tom ‘Dazzlin’ Doran (15-0, 5KO), who is on the hunt for a shot at middleweight champion Nick Blackwell (18-3-1, 8KO).

The 28-year-old Welshman believes that the winner of his eliminator against Sheffield’s unbeaten middleweight Rod Smith (7-0, 3KO) at Liverpool’s Echo Arena will enter pole position to be nominated mandatory challenger by the British Boxing Board of Control [BBBoC].

Doran, who has the longest unbeaten streak in Welsh boxing, said: “If I come through all of this on Saturday, which I have full confidence of doing, I don’t see that there’s anyone else in a better position than me to be mandatory challenger.

“Any British fighter who says it’s not a goal [to win the British title] is wrong. It might not be your ultimate goal but it’s got to be a big thing for everyone to get the British belt.

“After that, I want to go as far as I possibly can. Looking at the top 10, I think John Ryder’s above me but that’s who Blackwell beat for the belt and there’s Adam Etches, who hasn’t beaten anybody British.”

25-year-old Blackwell endured a tough start to his career, facing world rated opposition within two years of being a professional. However, ‘Bang Bang’ has learned from the experience and he’s currently in the form of his career. Since relocating to Cardiff and linking up with Gary Lockett, a renown former world title challenger who is now establishing himself as a top trainer, Blackwell’s produced his best ever win and most devastating knockout, stopping John Ryder on away territory and Damon Jones, respectively.

A week after Doran’s eliminator, Blackwell will defend his title against London’s little known but undefeated Elliot Matthews (15-0-1, 9KO). The date in Bristol, a joint Hennessy Sport and Sanigar Events promoted show that will also feature Cardiff’s cruiserweight Craig Kennedy, will be Blackwell’s second voluntary defence.

The BBBoC are likely to order a mandatory challenger if the Trowbridge native is successful against Matthews and then plans to make a third defence, which will be a tempting possibility given that another victory would mean Blackwell owns the historic strap for ever.

Analysing his potential opponent, Doran said: “Blackwell can take a shot, he seems strong and he’s got such an engine on him. He’s a tough opponent for anyone but there are weaknesses there, he’s shown them when he’s been beat in the past. He’s come on since then but there are chinks in the armour.

“He trains with Lockett, that’s been a good choice for him to go with Gary. I do feel like he has improved a lot and he’s often been referred to as a sparring partner but he’s definitely gone past that now.

“The way he beat Ryder was spectacular but after that the opponent he beat in his next fight [Damon Jones] wasn’t nothing spectacular. Again, this next one [Elliot Matthews], until I looked up who he is, I hadn’t heard of him.”

Image by Matchroom Sport/Bradley Ormesher.

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