Dave Howe, the recently retired heavyweight, compares his experiences in fighting Daniel Dubois and Nathan Gorman, who meet this weekend
Dave Howe might have laughed when I asked him to analyse the Daniel Dubois vs Nathan Gorman fight, despite the amiable and recently retired Sheffield heavyweight being one of only three common opponents the pair have and the only Brit. “Not sure what I could offer in interview terms,” he texted. “As both fights were over before I even had time to throw a shot!”
While it is true that Howe’s combined ring time with the two unbeaten contenders was a mere three minutes and seven seconds, it is still fascinating to hear (or read, hopefully) his insights on the two occasions.
Nathan Gorman, l rsf 1, October 2016, vacant Central Area title (Gorman’s sixth fight)
“If I’d still been training like I was at the Ingle Gym I would have beaten Gorman and put up more fight against Dubois. I probably did a pads session and maybe four rounds sparring on the week of the fight, so if get any shots thrown at me I’ve got to be able to react. My life changed when I left the Ingle Gym, I was just trying to keep my license and tick over as best I could.
“Gorman seemed like a nice kid, but I didn’t fear him at all. At the weigh-in I thought he… now, I didn’t look in the best shape anyway, but his conditioning looked rubbish. In the round I lasted I caught him with a few easy jabs – I’ve always had a good jab – and I think Dubois will beat him. I’m not taking anything away from him, Gorman is a talent and can compete; the heavyweight division in the UK is wide open beyond that top-five tier.”
Daniel Dubois, l ko 1, May 2017 (Dubois’ third fight)
“They offered me Dubois for his debut and I said, ‘Yeah of course,’ but he got injured or something and that fell through. I was gutted because I felt, in hindsight, I shoulda been paid more and I would have been as his first opponent, with all the hype. I didn’t know anything about Dubois, I didn’t know what to expect, he could have been 4ft and 55 stone. Once in the ring though, I thought ‘He obviously does train’, he looks like more of an athlete but he also looked really young! He’s got a babyface, he reminded me a bit of Riddick Bowe. I thought, ‘I’ll need to have me wits about me, I’m definitely not letting him load up’, but it were over before I knew it [40 seconds]. I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve been knocked out but, like any KO, I didn’t see it coming. I’ve always preferred counter-punching, for him to tag me as early as he did, that were it; I didn’t have anything to come back with.”
As for Howe, who also fought Dave Allen twice and called the Doncaster man who meets David price next week “a smashing fella”, he is a rare boxing success story despite his unremarkable 14-11 (6) record. Not a fan of the sport, outside his own exploits, Howe benefited from the discipline and enjoyed the challenge but ultimately retired late last year when he no longer needed boxing.
“My twins are just over a year old now, and I took my last two fights – my trainer Ryan Rhodes didn’t even know this – when I’d not even done anything,” the 38-year-old export manager for Kitlocker.com, reveals. “I’d tell me trainer I’d been on runs and stuff, but in all honesty I were doing night feeds and things like that. My wife pleaded with me, ‘We don’t need the money, why are you doing it?’ and I thought, strange as it sounds, ‘Yeah, why am I?’ If I was getting £30,000 a fight then yeah but when it’s a few grand it’s not worth my life. I’ve got to think about my safety especially with [the late] Scott Westgarth who I knew, and I didn’t wanna mug myself off getting stopped in the first round by kids I’d have competed with a few years earlier.
“I walked away but I’m happy that I had a go. For me it was always about the day-to-day toll nobody sees, pounding the streets at night or training in the gym alone on a Sunday morning while everyone else is nursing a hangover. I’ve got no regrets, I’ve met some great characters. I’ve never come across any fighters who were absolute arses, they’re all nice, humble guys. On the whole boxing has been a good part of my life and if my son wanted to get into it, I would be upset but for the self-discipline it’s a good thing and it’s great for kids in schools. I’m rich in the life I have.”