Sutherland wants work experience in Wigan

DARREN Sutherland is hoping to get a few rounds under his belt tonight when he touches gloves with Siarhei Navarka from Belarus on the undercard to the Jamie Moore-Michele Piccirillo European light middleweight title fight at the Robin Park Arena in Wigan.

Again the Olympic bronze medallist will gain widespread exposure courtesy of Sky Sports on an attractive bill.

It will be a step up — maybe just another baby step — for Sutherland when he takes on the 29-year-old Belarusian who has won just six of his 28 professional fights to date.

“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. But we want durable opponents so we can work on different things.”

He has undergone thorough preparation for the assignment under Brian Lawrence and, while he would like to get the rounds under his belt, he won’t be taking chances against an experienced opponent.

“I’m all set and ready to go — the training, and it was hard training, is all done and I can’t wait to get into the ring,” he said as he got ready for the weigh-in last evening

“I feel fitter and better prepared going into this fight than I did for my debut, because I’ve had more time and I’m adopting to the professional game.

“I’ve done some tremendous work with my trainer, Brian Lawrence, and I feel really, really relaxed.

“I definitely feel that there is less pressure on me than in the first fight. I was boxing in front of the home crowd then and there was also the point about it being my first fight. This time, though, it is different. Jamie Moore is fighting for the vacant European light-middleweight title so the pressure is on him, not me.

“The fact that the DCU fight was my first as a pro meant that the pressure was on me, but this time it’s not.”

Whenever Sutherland’s name is mentioned everyone wants to hear about a rematch with James DeGale.

The English southpaw inflicted a defeat on Sutherland, who had beaten him four times previously, in the semi-finals at the Olympic Games.

Last weekend DeGale was booed on his debut on the undercard to the Martin Rogan fight in Birmingham despite the fact that he won pretty comprehensively.

“I wasn’t impressed by his performance, but I didn’t think it was good that the crowd booed him. I didn’t like that,” Sutherland said.

“I thought that was a bit disrespectful, but I suppose it can’t be helped when he has star billing.

“Still, I thought he did what he had to do — but he boxed just like he did as an amateur.”

When Sutherland gets this fight out of the way he can look forward to returning to Dublin for his next one.

“They’re talking about Dublin in May although they don’t have an exact date as yet, but I would hope to get in another fight before that,” he said

“It all depends on how this fight goes. I’ve spoken to Frank (Maloney) and Brian (Lawrence) about it, and if I blow this guy away in maybe two rounds and come out of the fight without any injuries, then I’d like to get another fight in April, on one of the shows in Britain.

“I want to be active, and if you’re training properly and regularly there is no reason why you can’t fight every month or so.”

“I think he will fight for a title sooner than anyone expected,” his manager/promoter, Frank Maloney, said. “We looked at the title range and he can fight for the Southern Area title — a 10 round title fight — which we will probably look at. 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 into 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 the fight.”

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