18 November 2008 – by Mark Doyle
Brian Lawrence was officially unveiled as Darren Sutherlands trainer at a press conference in Dublin City University on Monday.
Clapton-based Lawrence, the man responsible for Ian Napas recent resurgence, will begin working with Sutherland later this week ahead of the Irish super-middleweights professional debut against Bulgarian Merdjitin in a scheduled six-rounder in a scheduled six-rounder at DCU on December 18.
Sutherland, who won a bronze medal for Ireland in the middleweight division in this summers Olympics, is being managed by Frank Maloney, who believes that ;the 26-year-old can achieve great things under the guidance of Lawrence.
Brian will be responsible for Darrens transformation from an amateur to a professional and hopefully the relationship will prove successful and ultimately lead to the world title that I believe Darren is capable of winning, the promoter told reporters in DCU.
Ive managed four world champions and Im the only man to take fighters from the Olympic Games and win world titles with them. Lennox Lewis and Paul Ingle were both in Seoul and Ive now got another Olympian. And I dont believe that Im going to fail with him.
I think good fighters can make the transition from amateur to pro. I watched the Olympics and the only fighters I was interested in were Darren and the Mongolian bantamweight whose name I cant pronounce. They were the only two I wanted.
“So, I dont think well have a problem. Ive known Brian a number of years and I know that the transition will be smooth.
Unsurprisingly, an excited Sutherland, who has long spoken of his desire to move into the paid ranks, is counting down the days until his professional debut.
I felt like I was a professional stuck in an amateurs body from day one. Turning pro was always my ambition, he explained.
The reason that I started boxing was to become a professional but along the way I got caught up in the Olympic dream. Im over the moon that I stuck it out and went to the Beijing Olympics because that was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, being able to represent Ireland on the international stage.
But the longer rounds in the pro game will suit my style. I like to get in there and fight and break people down. Im a very good body puncher and work well behind the jab as well, and those type of things are not rewarded in the amateurs. Its fencing with gloves basically!
They dont really reward people who take their time. Its not about dominating your opponent, its about single scores, so I cant wait to get started as a professional.
“It’ll be a very proud moment for me to make my home debut in Dublin in front of my home fans and at DCU, who have supported brilliantly over the past four years during my sports science studies.
Ive no nerves at all, Im just really excited. I cannot wait. Ive already said to Brian, just let me start sparring!
And Sutherland shares Maloneys view that he can reach the summit of the super-middleweight division.
Theres no point in starting anything unless you want to be the best, so the goal is to be a world champion, he declared.
My own aim is that by the time the next Olympics comes around I will either be ready to challenge for the world title or already be a world champion.