Sutherland banking on durability of ‘tricky journeyman’

DARREN SUTHERLAND will face Belarussian fighter Siarhei Navarka in Wigan this night week in his second professional outing with promoter Frank Moloney already pushing ahead target dates for a title fight.

Sutherland fights on the undercard to the Jamie Moore-Michele Piccirillo fight. And the Olympic bronze medallist says he would fight for a world title tomorrow if he had the opportunity.

That’s not realistic, however, and he will settle for Navarka — a Belarusian who has won just six of his 28 professional fights.

“Let’s face it, I have only boxed one round so far as a professional and you need the rounds,” Sutherland said. “That is why we are looking at those guys whose names I can’t even pronounce. We want durable opponents so we can work on different things — guys who have never been stopped, some of those tricky journeymen.”

“I think Darren will fight for a title sooner than anyone expected,” his manager/promoter, Frank Maloney said. “We have looked at the title range and he can fight for the Southern Area title — a 10-round title fight — he has already sparred with the champion. Another title is the Celtic title — you have to be from Scotland, Wales or Ireland — and it is another one we will look at.

“After we win that we are going to go straight on to the Irish title. I know it is a bold statement but if I was offered the Irish title tomorrow with Brian Magee, I would make that fight. I feel Darren would be ready for it. The only thing Brian (Lawrence) and I feel concerned about it is he does not have the rounds in.

“If you look at the opponent we have chosen for March 6 (in Dublin), you will see he is obviously a durable opponent. He has gone the distance more times than he has been stopped and that is what we are looking for.

“After that he will be out again in May and Sky was so impressed with the show in December — which really pleased me — they’ve agreed to come back to Dublin in May. We could get three or four shows in Dublin in the first year.

“This time we will hope to top the bill with an Irish fighter in Patrick Hyland, who is fighting on February 27 in London. If he comes through that and Ian Napper comes through his title defence on March 20, they will fight for the European title in Dublin and Darren will be on the undercard.

“I am trying to get the two Hyland brothers to fight for European titles that night — a double European title fight on the one night — with Paul boxing for the super featherweight title. Paul is also ranked and we have an agreement with the European champion to do a voluntary defence. I am trying to convince Sky to do it on a Saturday night as the pre-card to the Ricky Hatton-Manny Pacquiao fight in Las Vegas then I would go with the two European title fights which would be unique with two brothers fighting for two titles on the same bill.”

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