Eubank dazzles brave Doran to inflict first defeat
Deeside’s Tom ‘Dazzlin’ Doran (17-1, 7KO) suffered the first defeat of his professional career at the fast hands of Brighton’s brutal Chris Eubank Jr (23-1, 18KO).
Eubank made the first successful defence of his British middleweight title with a fourth round stoppage at London’s 02 Arena on the undercard of IBF world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
It was Eubank’s first fight since taking the title against Nick Blackwell in March, which left the Cardiff-based boxer in a coma for seven days and ended his career.
Until tonight, Doran owned the longest active unbeaten streak in Welsh boxing. He has always been exciting throughout his 17 previous fights and although being down on three previous occasions, Doran had taken belief from his history of jaw-dropping comebacks. It was a step too far this time.
From the start, Eubank showed typical showmanship. He waited in the corner during the opening seconds of the fight and waved Doran in. The 28-year-old challenger resisted and referee Marcus McDonnell ended Eubank’s initial episode of disrespect with a stern verbal warning.
A minute later, Doran was briefly buzzed with a backhand uppercut. Eubank, who has a tendency to lunge, wildly followed up and stumbled off-balance. It allowed Doran to reset and the Welshman managed to compose himself, while Eubank jigged across the ring.
Eubank undoubtedly took the opener and it was evident that Doran was in deep waters. Doran appeared to concede that he didn’t own the speed advantage, so he instead attempted to adapt and decide to time the exchanges, throwing at the same time.
That speed advantage came in to play in the third round and a sustained onslaught gave Doran nowhere to go except the floor. When he rose, Doran had over a minute to survive until the bell sounded and he did so, squeezing up his defence while Eubank posed.
There was no time for posing in the fourth round and Eubank became ruthlessly efficient, turning on the class with attacks to Doran’s body and head. He made dents wherever he landed, dropping Doran on three more occasions and forcing the official to halt the contest.
Doran should receive a lot of credit for his bravery – there are plenty of boxers who wouldn’t have got to their feet after suffering four knockdowns and his will to win was unquestionable. It was by far the biggest task of Doran’s career, which has always been spent with trainer Shane Thomas at Shotton Boxing Club – the gym that provided him with a platform to win a Welsh ABA title.
Despite defeat, Doran remains one of Welsh and British boxing’s most exciting operators and can come again. In his last fight, he caught mainstream attention in a terrific up-and-down two round Fight of the Year contender against Ireland’s ‘Cool Hand’ Luke Keeler. That dramatic win earned him the Eubank fight and although a big underdog, Doran believed he had a puncher’s chance for a good reason.
There are still plenty of match-ups to be made for Doran that will excite fans. More opportunities should arise, especially as Matchroom Sport’s Eddie Hearn has a good working relationship with Doran’s manager, David Coldwell – who became embroiled in an entertaining argument with ex-world champion Chris Eubank Snr at Wednesday’s press conference.
Before Doran’s fight against Rod Smith, a three round knockout win in November, the father-of-one weighed severely overweight. The misjudgment led to deserved criticism and more fortunately, a new approach to training. To aid with fitting training in either side of shifts as an aircraft engineer, Doran brought in a nutritionist.
It’s likely that Eubank didn’t learn much from what was, unfortunately, a routine defence but he could follow Doran’s example. Eubank, who wants world middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin next, was overweight at his first attempt on the scales, which is always a source of embarrassment for professional boxers, who are usually ultra-disciplined.
Image by Matchroom Sport.