Rohan Date [4(3)-0] doesn’t think he is too far off winning an Irish or BUI Celtic title on top of a bill in his hometown of Waterford, but suggest he might fulfill that dream after he secures a North Africa/Middle East strap.
It’s not often you hear such titles mentioned side by side, but such is the Waterford mans situation that it’s quite possible he could become champion of an exotic region and his home country.
The Déise man, who next fights in Dublin on the June 16th Celtic Clash 6 card, lives and trains in the UAE and believes the region could provide him with a second platform from which to progress.
The United Arab Emirates certainly isn’t a boxing stronghold, but the sport is growing in the region and – like titles in Australia have helped now world ranked Irish fighters such as Dennis Hogan, TJ Doheny and Darragh Foley, an Africa/Middle East title could provide a pathway toward world level for Date.
It’s something the hard-hitting welterweight is well aware of and an avenue his team seem to be exploring.
“There is talks at the moment to hold a North Africa/Middle East title belt towards the end of next year, so I am working towards that and collecting other belts back in Ireland,” he explained to Irish-Boxing.com.
“I think I will be having a lot more fights this year in the Middle East and hopefully I can use this to my advantage in the world rankings.”
It seems the Middle East is a place some big names see viable for camps and the Irish man residing over there seems to have benefited.
With Jamie McDonnell using it as a stop gap between Britain and Japan ahead of his fight with Naoya Inoue – a fighter keen on joining Ryan Burnett in the WBSSE – Date has been afforded the chance some of Dave Coldwell’s men.
He argues Anthony Fowler and Jordan Gill, who hold wins over Jay Byrne and Carl McDonald respectively, are perfect prep for his June 16th Good Counsel clash.
“The Middle East is just starting to kick off now. We had David Coldwell with his stable train in our in gym in Dubai before they headed to Japan. So luckily for me there was Anthony Fowler and Jordan Gill to help me get ready for June 16th. Not only this but some big names in the promotional game are looking interested in the region so I think things are looking up that I won’t need to travel home for every fight. ”
While life is good abroad Date also wants to fight at home. Never the biggest fan of the National Stadium – similar to his fellow Waterford welter Dylan Moran, it holds too many bad memories – he got a taste of home town action last time out.
The knock out artist stole the show as he took out Jade Kar!m in 24 seconds in front of a brilliant and vocal WIT Arena crowd.
The win got the welter dreaming of bigger nights in the city.
“Last time out I was in my home town in front of everyone I know. I couldn’t have done any more, I was entertaining, there was only one or two knockouts the whole night I think. This will make the whole of Waterford want to watch again and when I’m headlining the next show at home hopefully I will be collecting a belt that night.”
Such a quick victory over a fighter who went six rounds with Alfredo Meli at middleweight certainly caught the attention and Date is starting to be talked about as a tremendous puncher.
The fighter himself admits he probably is among the bigger punchers around the weight and is starting to believe in his ability to hurt.
“I think I’m there. I’ve moved down to welterweight too without really having to push myself. So I know now I’m at the right weight and still have my power. Welterweight is starting to look interesting and I’m happy to get in the mix this year. Some of my recent sparring partners have mentioned my power and that’s the boost I need to really believe in it.”