Tom Dallas, mauled by Matt Skelton in five brutal rounds at the Hillsborough Leisure Centre on March 30th, is confident he still has a future in the game.
The Chatham heavyweight knows he’s now got it all to prove but insists he can still make an impact.
"After the fight I did think ’shall I just give up’ but thought ’no, I can’t go out like that’ and decided that I’m going to carry on, start again, get back to the drawing board and see what happens."
Tom’s last two fights have seen him suffer a complete reversal of fortune. The prospect had racked up an impressive 15-0 (11) record before being knocked out in two rounds by stablemate David Price in June last year. Defeat to Price, especially when coming in as a last-minute replacement for John McDermott, is no disgrace but, last time out against Skelton, Tom looked completely out of sorts.
The 27 year old, who also works as a roofer, seemed to have no answer for his opponent’s mauling, brawling style and appeared to run out of steam as the fight progressed.
"In the training up to the fight I felt really fit, and I’m not just saying that. But on the night, after the first round, I just didn’t feel right and felt exhausted. I just couldn’t throw my right hand, my hands were low, and it all went wrong. Before the fight I tried to put on quite a bit of weight," revealed Tom, "and was 17st 10lbs, and I don’t know if that just slowed me up. I’m back down to 17st now though, and feel good at the minute.
"I don’t really know where it went wrong though to be honest. Beforehand, all we worked on was jabbing and moving, and holding when he came in. But then on the night, as soon as he came in, I just stood there! So, everything we did in training I didn’t do. It was completely my fault, and it was just one of those nights."
There aren’t many fighters who go through a career undefeated, and a loss that’s a learning experience is not necessarily a bad thing. Undoubtedly the defeat against Skelton was a hard and painful lesson, and obviously not one that Tom would want to repeat again, but the big man from Kent is sure that now – after reaching his lowest point - the only way is up.
Dallas added: "The only positives from it are that I can take a shot, because he hit me on the chin a few times with some big punches. So it’s nice to know I can take them even though I don’t want to!
"No, it hasn’t [dented my confidence] because that’s the worst I’ve ever performed so it can only get better!"
May 7, 2012