It's been a long, frustrating 12 months for Tom Doran. The Connah’s Quay fighter has not stepped into the ring since May 20 of last year. Doran is only 24 years old, but has already racked up an unbeaten record of 10 wins, no losses and three knockouts, despite a series of injuries and pull-outs in 2011/12.
His last victory – a one-round tear-up with Max Maxwell at Deeside Leisure Centre – saw the former Shotton ABC boxer throw the patience and skill that made him an amateur star out of the window as he looked to trade punches with the tough Birmingham man. It was a 202-second rollercoaster the unbeaten light-middleweight will never want to ride again.
Doran himself admits he will be looking to recapture the balanced and more relaxed style he demonstrated before switching codes in 2009. That said, he does not believe the Maxwell fight was stopped too early - there was some controversy after the final bell, as the “Dazzlin” slugger was forced to take a count himself – and believes with trainer Shane Thomas and manager Ricky Hatton by his side he can go all the way to the top.
A June 24 bout in St Helens seems to be on the cards up at middleweight, and Doran told BoxRec News this second chapter of his pro career could prove to be the most important.
“It has been frustrating, but I’m looking forward to getting back in there,” he said. “A few names have been mentioned but nothing definite yet. I’ll be up at 11st 6lbs as I’m bigger than I was last time out, so we’ll see how I go and whether I should drop down again to 11st.
“The last fight was tough but I certainly don’t think it was stopped early. He was in no position to defend himself and I was not going to stop throwing punches, so it was the right decision by the referee.
“I think perhaps I got a little too excited; maybe it was the occasion or having all of my supporters there, I’m not sure. Maybe it was the pressure. At the end of the day I won, and was delighted with that.”
Doran was due to fight last September before picking up a hand injury. A show in November was also cancelled, and because his “head was not right” a proposed fight three months ago was also postponed. You could be forgiven for questioning his ambition, but Doran insists he is committed to the fight game and eager to plough forward with his career. The presence of Hatton has also had a positive effect.
“I see him at the fights and when I go to his health and fitness gym in Hyde, which is really good for me,” he said. “I’m back-and-to to Manchester now, sparring and training, so I’ll see more of them.
“Training is going well, I’ve eased back into it well after a while out and am loving it. One thing I am looking to do is change my style slightly. The switch to professional was pretty easy but my last couple of fights only lasted a round. I need to get rounds under my belt and maybe go back to being a bit more of a stand-off boxer, rather than a pressure fighter.
“That’s not really my style, I’m more of a boxer. But I’m only 24 and have time on my side. I still think I can win titles, I’m unbeaten and looking forward to getting back to winning ways in June.”