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Dave Allen still chasing the dream

Dave Allen
Tom Shaw/Matchroom Boxing
Despite the punishing loss to David Price, there is optimism in the voice of Dave Allen who talks to Declan Taylor in detail about that defeat, its implications and his plans for the future

IT IS now over two months since Dave Allen was left battered, bruised and hospital-bound by David Price at the O2 Arena. Despite suggesting that his career might have ended that night in London, the Conisbrough heavyweight tells Boxing News why he is ready to dedicate two more years of his remarkable life to the sport.

Now the dust has totally settled, how do you reflect on that Price defeat?
Every fighter that wins or loses, in their training camp things don’t go right or whatever else. My camp wasn’t perfect and I could sit here and make 1,001 excuses about what went wrong and why I didn’t perform but the top and bottom of it was, I believe David Price was the better man on the night. He came, he turned up the best he’s ever been and he was the better man. I don’t want to make excuses because I’d lost four times before that, this is five, and I’ll probably lose another 10 times. Not bothered.

How did this defeat feel compared to your others?
Basically, I was already signed to sight Alexander Povetkin. It was already a done deal. I wasn’t looking past David Price at all, but it was a case of – a year ago I’d just agreed to fight Nick Webb and now I had signed to fight Povetkin. So to answer your question, the hardest thing is realising I’ve thrown away nearly half a million pounds because I’m not fighting Povetkin and that hurts a little bit. However, David Price is a gent and I have all the respect in the world for him. The fact I lost to him, genuinely, took the edge off it.

Dave Allen
Allen concedes that Price was the better man Action Images/Reuters/Ed Sykes

But you said in the aftermath that you might be done. For how long did you consider retirement?
It lasted for about a week I guess maybe but boxing is my tool and my platform. I need to box for another two years. If I don’t become a British and Commonwealth champion I would have let my father, my grandfather and myself down because I know for a fact I’ve got the ability to do so on my day. Two years to do that. My mindset is, I lost but I’ll be back. I’ve got that bouncebackability factor.

You said you would be back as long as all your medical checks permitted it. What’s the status with that?
I’m waiting for a hospital note from Royal London to pass me to box then I have a meeting with the Board too. My brain scan is clear, I have to wear glasses now though. I feel miles better because I’ve had a rest. 

I’ve been flat-out, 2018 was a hard year. The [Ariel] Bracamonte and [Tony] Yoka fights were only four months apart so it was very hard physically. I boxed Lucas Browne and then went straight to the David Price camp. There was a bit of burnout really, it was the stress, going up and down to London two or three times a week and really and truly I think it got a bit on top of me.

Speaking of which, you have been training under Darren Barker in London for your last two fights. Will that continue?
Darren’s my friend. I don’t think I’ve met a nicer man in boxing. He’s a proper gent. The travelling is hard but with the money I was making for the Price and Browne fights it was fine to pay it but now the money will go back down it becomes more difficult. But Darren is still my head trainer and will continue to be.

Your promoter Eddie Hearn wrote on Twitter that there is a slot for you on the Newcastle show on October 19 if you want it. So do you?
Eddie wants me to box in Newcastle and that’s dependent on the opponent really because I’m not ready to do a hard 10-rounder. I don’t want another gruelling fight right now, I don’t need it. If he gets me the right opponent then I’ll box but I can’t have another Bracamonte fight again. My days of rushing into fights are over because I’m building something much more important which doesn’t involve me fighting. I want to be fit and healthy to do it.

What’s that then?
I’m using Stefy Bull’s gym in Doncaster to train Danny Murrell but I’ve literally got between 15-25 men. Danny is 17 and he’s the youngest. Some of these are nice guys with good jobs who love boxing and might want to box as amateurs. I’ve got Danny Murrell who I think will be a very good pro one day. Then I’ve got some really scary people from the wrong side of the tracks and I want to give them a good life. I want to train and manage fighters and not take a penny off them. That’s the dream.

You’ve struggled with depression in the past, you sound happy now, does it help to have something more long-term to focus on?
For years and years I’ve been searching for what I really want. I love boxing and fighting but if it was my real passion I would have put much more effort in. I know that. But this is my passion now and boxing really is just a tool I can use to help these young men. I’ve been there myself, so I know how I can help.

So how often are you training people?
We are having two sessions a day currently, 9am and 5pm – but today we trained in a field behind my house! The money goes to the gym, I don’t take a penny, all my time is free and if anything it costs me a fortune because I’ve bought all brand-new gloves and cover the subs for those who can’t afford it. I don’t spend a penny at home, I don’t have a sofa, I don’t have a TV stand. I’ve only just got a bed. I’m not interested in stuff like that. I don’t get anything financially from it but it’s making me a really happy person, and that’s all I care about.

It was announced on Tuesday, August 27, that Allen will fight in Newcastle in October, although on Monday Allen told Boxing News that he had yet to be given the green light to fight again.

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