19 October 2008 – by Cormac Campbell

Frank Maloney always manages to defy convention. His ability to adapt and prosper has enabled the Londoner of Irish parentage to weather the turbulent storms of the professional boxing business for a generation.

Few would have picked him as the likely victor in the race to woo Olympic bronze medallist Darren Sutherland but then the same was said 20 years ago when he convinced Lennox Lewis that he could take him all the way to the top. Dubliner Sutherland had received offers from around the globe but it seemed that Sports Network supremo Frank Warren had emerged as the successful suitor. Somewhat out of the blue things changed and on Thursday, October 16 the DCU student was unveiled to the press as part of a Maloney camp that had previously helped guide Lewis, Paul Ingle, Scott Harrison and David Haye to the top.

The deal is done. Over three years we can expect to see Sutherland develop from novice pro in to contender and Maloney is adamant that his latest charge will be brought to the boil in a traditional manner.

We are looking at the Irish title, the Commonwealth title he is eligible to fight for that because of his fathers background, the European title and then the Holy Grail the World, he told

Im a traditionalist. I think that is probably one of the things that Darren liked with me that I am a traditionalist. Im very old fashioned in my boxing approach. Im not interested in Mickey Mouse World titles, in shortcuts. Im interested in what is right and proper.

To go the traditional route one must be confident in the quality of the raw talent, and Maloney is certain that the St Saviours powerhouse has the tools to reach the very top.

I think he will be a world champion if he turned professional and of the Olympians he was the man I wanted to go after, he said.

The beauty of it is that he Irish which is a whole new market as it gives him the chance to target the Irish, British and American scene. So you have got three markets. Obviously, America has a tremendous Irish community and Britain has a big Irish community I should know Im part of it.

Articulate, exciting and well schooled, it seems the sole minus in the Sutherland equation is age. The Dubliner is already 26, but Maloney refutes the observation that he may have to fast track his latest charge.

I dont agree with that, he said.

Lennox Lewis was 27 when he turned pro with me. Amir Khan turned pro very young, in my opinion too young. He should have stayed amateur. Sometimes when they turn pro too young they cant handle the attention or the money they are receiving. It sort of blows them out of the water. I prefer a more mature fighter and thats what Darren is.

A debut on home soil at DCUs glorious Helix theatre on December 18, live on Sky Sports will prove to be a baptism of fire for Sutherland, just how far he goes remains to be seen.

Full details of the Helix card are expected to be announced soon so stay tuned to for updates.

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