DORAN BACK TO DAZZLE DEESIDE

On Saturday, ‘Dazzlin’ Tom Doran (10-0, 3KO) will start his second chapter and return to the ring for the first time in three years. In Doran’s previous fight at the Deeside Leisure Centre, he scored a controversial first round stoppage over Max Maxwell in 2011. In the early stages of the opener, Doran was down and in trouble but he recovered, briefly stunning Maxwell and that was enough to prompt referee Howard Foster to halt proceedings… a decision that many observers believed to be premature. Even though he was the victor, it isn’t a night that Doran remembers fondly. Now 26, Doran speaks of that night with a tone that suggests he actually lost. He didn’t but it was the night that sparked the North Wales native into questioning his future in the sport. He said, “That fight showed my worst, I don’t think it was the best of me at all. Obviously, I had to grit my teeth and get on with it in the end. I had a couple of fights lined up after that, some injuries come and then, I just got a bit disheartened with it all. “The hand injuries were hard, it was my right hand. It’s only ever my right hand, I could go through a wall with my left hand. It was just another one of them things, it’s boxing. It was a British title eliminator but then he (Maxwell) went on to get the British title shot, didn’t he? I got a bit disillusioned with that too.” Prior to his return to boxing, Doran competed in two unlicensed fights, winning both at light-heavyweight (175lbs). In the first chapter of his professional career, Doran was competing in the light-middleweight division, weighing 154lbs but he will now return at super-middleweight, two weight categories heavier at 168lbs. There are few boxers who don’t suffer with weight making issues and looking back, Doran believes it may have been an issue for him too. He said, “At the time, I didn’t think there was a problem but in hindsight, there probably was. I was killing myself to make the weight really. It was affecting my performances but it didn’t show until the last fight because I took a few big punches. “I have grown a lot since then. I was training since I was 10 years old and I never had a break from boxing like a lot of teenagers do, they go away from the sport and come back to it after a while. With the break, I haven’t been keeping myself down at the weight all the time and I’ve grown. “I don’t know if I’ll go down to middleweight (160lbs). I feel quite good at the weight now, I’m only a couple of pounds over. I can make super-middle easy and I’ve got a day before weigh in too.” Doran, trained by Shane Thomas at Shotton Amateur and Professional Boxing Club, won Welsh titles at all age categories in the amateurs and one of the main targets now is to win a Welsh title as a professional. The current Welsh super-middleweight champion is Swansea’s Tobias Webb and Doran detailed ambitions for a title challenge in the future. He said, “There was some talk of, I don’t know how far it went… but there was talk of getting me and my gym mates (Andy Jones and Cameron Halfpenny)  Welsh title fights. To have the titles fought for would be brilliant for Wales. “I’ve always said… I’ve won Welsh title at schoolboy, youth and senior in the amateurs, so it would be nice to win it in the pros as well.” There was a time when local scribes added hugely unnecessary pressure of naming Doran the next Joe Calzaghe. Doran is very green in the game, even more so with the break but despite his relative inexperience as a professional, a few quick comeback wins will still see him pinned as one of the main faces of North Welsh boxing again. Thankfully, previous life lessons have taught the Welshman the importance of handling the pressure. He said, “I think there was (pressure), yeah. Back then, it was big shoes to fill. In my last fight, I certainly felt there was a lot of pressure on me. That’s why I fought the wrong fight, I come out and tried to fight with him (Maxwell) to please everyone. “I should’ve just boxed, I would have beaten him well every day of the week if I did that. I’ve gone back to counter-punching now, to be honest. In training, I’ve tried to go back to my boxing, that’s my aim on Saturday night. “It (the lack of boxing in North Wales) has been a shame, there’s some decent lads about up here who haven’t been able to fight locally but it’s back now, on my doorstep and we’re going to make the most of it.” The opponent who Doran will face on his return to the ring will be Yorkshire’s rough and tough Harry Matthews (12-14-2, 2KO). The pair will meet in a six round contest on David Coldwell’s ‘The Return’ show. Other Welshmen on the show include Andy Jones, Kerry Evans and Cameron Halfpenny. Tickets are available from www.ColdwellBoxing.com and priced at £10, £15, £30, £60 and £120.

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