Doran now a 'monster' middle

Shaun Brown
02/04/2016 2:54am

Sky Sports may have inadvertently created a middleweight monster in the shape of Tom Doran.

The unbeaten 28-year-old Welshman (16-0, 6 KOs), managed by Dave Coldwell, was at the centre of criticism last November when the former Prizefighter winner came in half a stone over the 160lbs middleweight limit for his contest against Rod Smith.

Doran finished Smith off in the third round with a crippling left hook to the body in what was supposed to be an eliminator for the British middleweight title. 

“I picked up a calf injury and it just stopped me on my roadwork. Struggled to get the last bit of weight off really,” Doran explained to Boxing Monthly.

“I wasn’t happy about it myself as I’m sure a lot of other people weren’t. I was absolutely slated on Sky Sports, but I was saying to someone the other day, in hindsight it’s probably the best thing to happen to me because it really has created a monster. That negative criticism, which I’ve not been used to, I’ve not had it before. It really has made me step it up a gear.”

Doran will get the chance to show everyone how much he has stepped it up when he faces Ireland’s Luke Keeler (10-1, 5 KOs) for the vacant WBC International middleweight title tonight at Liverpool’s Echo Arena live on Sky Sports.

It’s a rematch of their February 2015 affair which was won over three rounds in a Prizefighter duel; a fight that Doran won on all three scorecards (29-28). A contest that Doran believes will have no bearing on tonight’s 10-round dust-up.

“I wouldn’t say it helps, no. I know I beat him but a three-round fight is neither here nor there. This is a 10-round title fight but, saying that, when I beat him in Prizefighter he saw a fraction of what I’ve got to offer,” said Doran. 

“I’ve stepped it up since then. I really, really have stepped it up levels. You always think you’re training hard and I did for Prizefighter but since that I’ve got a nutritionist on board, a strength and conditioning coach and I realise I was playing at it, I really was. So I’m feeling fantastic for this one.”

So what does he expect from Keeler in tonight’s fight?

“I expect him to come forward a lot early on. He’s known since Prizefighter that he had a bad hand. So I expect him to come out and prove something. He’s going to be throwing the right hand a lot. I think he’s going to eat the jab and that might put a halt in him coming forward a little bit.” 

Inbetween boxing, Doran is a father, a husband and works 12-hour days as an aircraft electrician. Time to himself is non-existent and, because of that, he finds himself having to train at 5am when most people are asleep. For that to change, Doran needs titles and more sponsorship which would take the man from Connahs Quay to full-time status as a professional boxer. 

“In an ideal world I wouldn’t be training at five in the morning,” Doran told BM. “I need a title really. Once you get that the money starts to get closer to where you need to be and obviously the sponsors come with it. My sponsors have increased for this fight. I really appreciate their support. It’s a short career and I want to make as much of it as I can.”