Doran desperate to seize Prizefighter opportunity

On Saturday, ‘Dazzlin’ Tom Doran (11-0, 3KO) will aim to use the platform of Matchroom Sport’s Prizefighter tournament to re-establish himself as one of British boxing’s most promising prospects. Doran said: “It seems the case that you win Prizefighter and you’re basically guaranteed a shot at the British title, that’s how it seems to happen. It’s the way I look at it, I will win it on Saturday and I think it’s going to put me where I once was. “It [Prizefighter] gets me out there a bit more and it’s all exciting, there’s a bit of a buzz to it. It’s helped with tickets, too. As soon as you say Prizefighter, everyone comes to me for tickets. So, it’s took a lot of stress away and gets me right back up there.” To go where Doran wants to, the 27-year-old from Connah’s Quay in North Wales will have to experience a completely different format as a professional and win three three-round fights to take the trophy at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens venue. He said: “I think it’ll suit me, to be honest. It’s back to the amateur days. When I won the [Welsh] Senior Championships in my last year [2009], that had just gone back to three-three minute rounds then. I found that great and Prizefighter will be the same.” Doran, now managed by David Coldwell, has adopted some alternative training methods with his mentor Shane Thomas for the last six weeks and he’s eager to put them in to practice. He said: “I have trained specifically for Prizefighter. In my sparring, I’ve been doing one opponent for three rounds, jumping out for five minutes and then a new opponent, same again and again. “I’m definitely looking to be the boxer, not the brawler in this. I think clever boxing and spiteful punching wins it, basically. Brawling can win it but it’s not an easy way to go about it.” The draw for the competition wasn’t made until yesterday and it matched Doran in the fourth quarter-final against Birmingham’s Craig Cunningham, also undefeated in 11 outings with a handful of knockouts wins. Speaking of the draw, Doran said: “I’ve drawn the short straw in the draw but I intend to make the fights as easy as possible, so the rest [between the semi and final] shouldn’t matter. I’ve been having five minutes between spars, so 15 minutes is going to be a luxury on fight night. “To win it, you’ve got to be the best in it. So, no – I’m not really fussed who I fight, to be honest. I don’t know a lot about him [Cunningham] but I’ve heard he’s quite slick, a southpaw but that’s about it. I don’t think he’s going to come for a fight, he’ll come to box on his back foot. It might clash a bit, with us both trying to box, so we’ll see.” In 2011, Doran was dropped but then stopped Max Maxwell in an action packed one round war, winning their British title eliminator but three years of inactivity quickly commenced. The popular puncher returned in May, again rising from a knockdown to shred his ring rust and beat a game Harry Matthews on points. Reflecting on the experience, Doran said: “For five rounds of it, I bloody breezed it, like. Then, I switched off a bit and obviously took a big shot off him. I done the wise thing and took a knee, regrouped and came strong again at the end of the round. “A bit of adversity is not the end of the world, is it? You’re going to get caught in this game. The experience did me the world of good and I’ll be better for it in Prizefighter.” The Welshman admits to struggling to make the weight during his light-middleweight (154lbs/ 11st) days and his return came two divisions higher at super-middleweight (168lbs / 12st). However, the Prizefighter opportunity comes at middleweight, 8lbs lighter, and Doran has had to abide by a disciplined but comfortable diet. He said: “I’m feeling the best I’ve ever felt. I’ve made a few changes to my diet, I couldn’t be happier with how my weight’s gone. I’m virtually on it, there’s a little bit of drying out to do but I’m so happy, doesn’t even feel like I’ve been on a diet. “I can feel my man strength more. In sparring, you throw people about a bit more and just generally, I feel a lot stronger in myself and it’s come at the right time.” When the second of his comeback fights was scrapped at the last minute in September, Doran was prepared to become an ‘opponent’, probably having to accept fights on short notice and aiming to win against the odds in the away corner. So, Doran couldn’t be more grateful for Saturday’s opportunity. He concluded: “When Dave [Coldwell] rang me on Christmas Eve to ask if I was willing to go in Prizefighter, I snapped his hand off. “Before that, I wasn’t going to go on the road as a journeyman but I would have taken any fights offered. You’ve got to believe you’re going to win and I do. I’d never ever go in to a fight if I didn’t think I could win it because… what’s the point?” Prizefighter starts at 7:00pm on Sky Sports 1 (Sky Ch. 402) on Saturday 14 November 2015. Image by Lawrence Lustig / Matchroom Sport.

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