BN: What was it that made you ask for this fight with Ionut Baluta?
DM: He’s come along and beaten a few of [promoter] Frank Warren’s guys. The last guy he beat was another good fighter in Andrew Cain. He beat him [and] I thought, ‘I’m going to take him out and show the world what I’m all about.’
BN: Did Andrew Cain throw it away against Baluta?
DM: Baluta done really well to dig in and come back from two knockdowns [and win on points]. I fight these guys with the IQ and brain I have [and] genuinely believe none of them have the same brain as me. I’m so clever in the ring, I know where I am at all times. I always mean everything I do. But I feel that he [Cain] thought it got a bit easy at stages, got a bit complacent and lazy in my opinion. Baluta’s got a good work-rate and got the job done.
BN: If you were to win on points, would you be disappointed with that?
DM: Not at all because I know how solid he is as a fighter, and he’s got a good chin. If I know how good I am, I believe I can get him out of there. It could be earlier than later, really. I’m so unpredictable. If I don’t know what I’m gonna do, how does he know what I’m gonna do? I can switch, I can punch, I’m faster, I’m stronger, cleverer. I’m even better looking! So, how can he beat me? That’s not me being cocky, that’s me believing in my ability. I know what I’m capable of doing. Also, he’s beat the likes of [former belt-holder] TJ Doheny. Another good win but he’s not met ‘The Menace’ yet so he’s in for the worst night of his life.
BN: Has motivation been difficult for your 14 fights to date?
DM: No, because I love boxing so much. I watch it all day, 24/7 boxing. But when you know there’s no risk at stake you can get a bit complacent sometimes. I believe I’m two or three fights away from a world title. I’m going for a man who’s finished on a high. I don’t like digging someone out who’s just come off a loss. I want to go for someone who’s fresh and hungry. He’s not as hungry as me but he’s hungry.
BN: How would you assess your own career and development to date?
DM: From my last fight with Joe Ham, I feel like now I’m so much stronger, physically and I feel like I’m punching so much harder. I feel like I’m a man now. I was a boy before. I feel like I’m going to get stronger and stronger. My last two fights, two fellas that had never been stopped before and I got them out of there. James Beech, Joe Ham, two good fighters. I think Baluta is fringe world-level. A very good fighter but I’m better.
BN: Baluta knows how to upset the odds as well.
DM: The more pressure I’m under, the better it is for me. When I was 15 years old, I hopped on a plane and went to Russia. There must have been 3 or 4,000 Russians there and I fought their home boy and done him in. The more pressure the better. That’s the type of guy I am.
BN: What’s your memories of that experience?
DM: It was great. I went to Russia for the European [Schoolboys] Games. I beat the best of them. Mixed with every style, you name it I’ve sparred them and fought them. No style seems to faze me.
BN: Would you say you have had to grow up quick?
DM: When I was 11 years old, I was getting three- to four-hour train journeys from Birmingham to London. I was walking through Bethnal Green Park where you see people smoking, proper street boys basically. I walked through the lot of them. I’ve had no fear since I was a kid. I get trains there, get my backpack on, do my thing in the gym, come home. I used to get home at 11 o’clock at 11 years old. I left school at 10 to box. I’ve been a proper little street rat.
BN: Is there anything that intimidates you, fazes you or scares you at all?
DM: Me mum! (laughs) I’m not just saying this because I’m on the phone, trying to be the big one. I’m far from the big man. This is why I think I’ve done so much and achieved so much: I sparred people in the gym [weighing] 100kg, and I give it to them because, for some reason, I believe I can beat them. It doesn’t matter how big they are. Nothing fazes me, that’s the truth. Apart from when my mum comes out with that slipper and that’s about it. I’ve had that a few times.
BN: What’s life been like for you since your last fight?
DM: I’m genuinely a gym rat. I do marathons, I run up mountains. My strength coach is an ex-marine. He keeps me on my toes. I don’t leave the gym. For my mental state as well. It’s probably why I believe in myself so much because I don’t leave the gym. The time off probably did me well When I’m resting, I’m getting stronger. I don’t ever rest. After a fight I’m in the gym.
BN: There’s a big opportunity for you to go on and do something special and have a magnificent career.
DM: Set my family up for life. I could be a legend; I could be a role model for younger kids and show them what’s possible. The biggest thing for me is to stay disciplined. Keep my eye on the ball, don’t get on the high horse. I’ve got a good team around me that make sure of that.