Shrewsbury fight fans haven’t had much to cheer since Roddy Doran hung up his gloves more than a decade ago.
Until now . . .
Jack Winter is an unbeaten cruiserweight who’s making quite an impression on the unlicensed circuit – and he has Doran in his corner.
Doran expects the 21 year old to turn professional and describes him as ‘’special.’’
He’s been good enough to win all seven fights so far – six by KO – and his next test comes in a good-looking four-man tournament in Shrewsbury on Friday, October 19.
The line up also includes Andy Cooke and Jordan Williams – both fighters who are eyeing a pro career in the near future – and one of the classiest operators on the unlicensed circuit, Shaun Williams.
“This is Jack’s biggest test yet,” said Doran, who won Midlands Area honours at two weights and challenged for the English belt during his 15-fight career.
“I’m building him up towards a pro career and this will tell us where he is now.
“He looks special to me.
“We know Cooke is strong, Jordan likes to fight and Shaun is cagey and durable, but I believe Jack has the ability to beat them all.
“It’s a good line up, it should be a good night.
“Unlicensed boxing gets a mixed press, but good lads like Tom Doran and Luke Blackledge have come through it .”
Doran reckons Winter will do the same.
“The plan is to put Shrewsbury back on the boxing map,” said the 46 year old, who runs seven shows every year.
“I remember taking 500 fans with me to Derby (when he fought Damon Hague in WHEN) and I think Jack will have a good following.
“He needs to have around 30 fights before he turns over. I want him to have all the armour before he takes the step up to the next level.”
Doran knows how good Winter is having got back in the ring to spar him at the Albrighton Hall Hotel where his gym is based.
“He’s rangy, lanky and awkward,” said Doran. “I found him hard to hit. I must have taught him well !
“I want my boxers to do the basics right. They have their chins down, hands high and I get their feet right.”
Doran has a wealth of knowledge to pass on having had 120 amateur bouts before turning pro with Pat Cowdell in 2001, at the advanced age of 29.
“I found out how difficult the pros would be in my fourth fight,” remembered Doran, “when (hard Ingles’ journeyman) Simeon Cover hit me with a right hand.
“That fight taught me how different the pros were to the amateurs. In the pros, there were tough guys who are there to take your head off.”
Doran adapted well enough to win Midlands Area belts at middleweight and super-middleweight, but cuts ruled him out when he met Donovan Smillie for the vacant St George’s belt and he’s probably best remembered for sharing a pair of fights with Hague.
Both were screened on the BBC.
Doran outboxed the Derby ticket seller over 10 rounds in November, 2003 and four months later, they met again on the Carl Froch-Charles Adamu undercard at Nottingham Arena.
“The fight was supposed to be at middleweight,” said Doran, “but a couple of days before, I got a call to say Robin Reid had vacated the WBF super-middleweight title and we were fighting for that.
“I did all that work to get down to 11st 6lbs and then they do that.”
Doran was beaten on points and worse was to follow.
Traces of clenbuterol were found in his post-fight drugs test and the Board banned him for six months. “I had a chest infection,” remembered Roddy, “and someone recommended I should take a couple of tablets to help me breathe easier.
“Yes, I should have gone to the doctors, but I had taken time off work to train and thought the doctor would tell me to pull out.
“It’s not as if I took performance-enhancing drugs. That was the worst performance of my career !”