After claiming his IBF Super Middleweight World title on Saturday night in Boston, James DeGale dedicated his victory to the late great Darren Sutherland.
Here at Irish-boxing.com we found an interview with we did with Sutherland after probably his most entertaining clash with his old amateur rival. Sutherland claimed EU gold in the National Stadium thanks to a 22-19 win over the now World champ.
Dazzler, whose initials DeGale wears on his fight shorts, said at the time he was sure the pairs paths would cross in the Olympics, how right he was.
July 3rd, 2007 – by Jonny Stapleton
New European Union Middleweight Champion Darren Sutherland has put off a potential change in code from amateur to professional boxing, well for the time being anyway.
Legendary Irish pugilist and former world champion Barry McGuigan was so impressed by Sutherland’s performances during last week’s tournament that he tipped him as a potential professional world champion.
McGuigan hailed the St Saviours OBA boxer as one of the best talents to emerge in Ireland for a long time and is predicting a successful career at the top the professional game.
But Sutherland has put paid to the idea of an instant change, signaling his intention to represent Ireland in the up coming World Championship and Olympic games before considering making boxing his profession.
“For someone like Barry a true legend of the sport to say that is a real confident boost and is very flattering. I got into to boxing to be involved at the highest level and I love the professional game. I love the music, the crowd and they excitement. I grew up watching the likes of Collins, Watson, Benn and Eubank with my Dad and one day I would like to be at that level. But I am fully focused on the World Championships; I plan to medal there and make it to the Olympics.
“After that if there is a professional contract on the table I will consider it. The round system does suit me better than the computer scoring system; I like to get stuck in, dominate rounds and in that way I think professional boxing would suit me. But at present I am happy where I am.”
Sutherland was speaking directly after he secured his first major international tournament medal in the National Stadium.
He out punched England’s number 1 middle weight James Degale by a 22 -19 score in a tense and enthralling final.
The Blanchardstown puncher eased into the final with third round stoppages of both his quarter and semi final opponents but met a worthy challenger in the decider.
At one stage in the final round Degale was within one punch of the Irish Middleweight Champion, but Sutherland finished the round strong to complete the most important of his three wins over the Briton.
Sutherland had picked up five medals in several multi international tournaments this year, but, desired silverware from a major international event. And after his most recent win he sported a wide smile and a new gold medal around his neck.
“You don’t know how proud I am to have this medal. This is my greatest achievement in ten years of boxing. It’s my first major medal and I am delighted with it” he said after his medal presentation.
“I feel like I have made sure I am off to the Olympic Qualifiers now, I have booked my place on the plane to Chicago.”
“I knew the expectation – a gold medal – I said it from the off that it was my intention and then I had to see it through. There was a lot behind it because we had boxed twice before and there was a little bit of bad blood. But afterwards I said to him ‘lets be gentlemen and bury the hatchet.
“I am sure he will be a rival in the future. He is the English No 1 and I am the Irish No 1 so we will probably clash again in the Olympic Games.
“I have waited 10 years for this medal but this tournament was about cementing my place for the Olympic qualifiers and that’s why there was that added expectation. Not only did I want to win the gold medal but I also wanted to make sure of my place because there is another world class middleweight in Ireland, Darren O’Neill, on my heels.”
Up next for Sutherland and the Irish team is trip to the Ukraine for another multi national tournament and an intense training camp.
The Ukrainian visit is part of the preparations the World Championships which take place in Chicago in October.