Louie Darlin

Things have changed since we last spoke with Louie Darlin back in June (read the piece here ).  He is a different person, different mindset.  There are professional portfolio photos and branded outfits available for sale bearing his logo.  Back in June he was coming off of his first professional fight, a points win against Moses Matovu.  Since then he also picked up a victory over the distance against Paul Morris, moving his career record to 2-0 after a successful unlicensed fighting career.
 
Today stands a man who is more confident, more professional, as he tells me:  “I wasn’t training before – and if I did then I would train for half hour and go home to eat a kebab.  But now I’m eating right, training every day.  The change is massive.  I’ve gone from 22 stone as a heavyweight to 14 stone 8 comfortably.  The lifestyle change has been massive and it’s benefitted me.  Before I used to throw one big right hand, which I did 30 times, but I’m now at my natural weight and kept my power.”
 
It is not just the change in body shape that has benefitted the 26 year old from Kent.  His aims and aspirations are more clearly defined.  That in part may be down to having grown into the team around him, lead by trainer John Cole.  On the occasions I have been in Louie’s presence he is often flanked by Cole – clearly the relationship is as strong away from the ring as in it.  The two are boxing obsessed – small talk about new training drills and improvements required often fill the air when around them. Cole came on board at the start of Darlin’s professional career and has changed the style of his boxing, no longer reliant on the power of the single right hand to win a fight:
 
“The difference with Jon is I’m putting three or four punches on the end of the big right.  If it’s not the right hand then one of the others will land – my left is just as strong as my right.  Either way if you walk on to one that’s it” he tells me.
 
Darlin is fighting next on October 17th at York Hall on the Goodwin Promotions card ‘We Never Stop’.  The card is stacked with quality fights, headlined by the British super middleweight eliminator between John McCallum and Leon McKenzie.  McKenzie, the footballer turned boxer, is a man who has Darlin has been getting to know well of late as the level of preparation for this fight has been increased.  “Progression has been good.  I’ve stepped it up a few levels in sparring with decent level fighters – the likes of Leon McKenzie” Louie tells me in his deep London accent.  “That was for looking towards the future – there’s things we are aiming towards now, but then there’s also future opponents.  It’s not too hard to work it out, Leon McKenzie’s a southpaw and there aren’t too many of them in the cruiserweight division!”
 
The man that Darlin makes a veiled comment about would be Lawrence Bennett (7-1-0), the Southern Area cruiserweight champion and a man who leads with his left hand.  Bennett has his own issues to deal with on the 17th October, as he challenges Matty Askin (18-3-0) for the English title.  In line for the Southern Area title in November is Wadi Camacho (12-5-0), the former Prizefighter champion.  Darlin will for now have to join the queue of fighters wanting to take a shot at Bennett’s belt.
 
That isn’t an issue though for the Kent fighter.  Firstly he must deal with Reinis Porozovs (3-5-0) in October.  Porozovs was last seen on these shores against Jose Lopes (4-0-0) in September, where he was dropped in the third round and lost on a points decision.  There has been talk of a potential future clash between the talented Lopes and Darlin, but it is talk that Darlin is keen to play down.  “I saw chinks against Lopes.  I wouldn’t say I can expose them better – I’m not getting involved in a row about he did it this way and I’ll do it that way.  I’m just going to get in there and do it my way.  I can punch and he doesn’t like getting hit.”
 
Lopes didn’t fight to his best against Porozovs, lacking some of the flair and explosiveness that his fans have become accustomed to.  So how much does Darlin take from that fight?  “We know quite a lot about Porozovs.  We’ve watched his fight back with Lopes from a few weeks ago.  I’ve seen enough of what I need to see.  I know he doesn’t like being hit but then, who does to be honest?  It’s a matter of me caching people.  There’s definitely power that I’ve been showing in the gym that will be on display in October.  I was hitting hard before but now I feel I’m hitting a lot harder.”
Louie Darlin
Darlin explained to me that this fight was one that he wanted – not necessarily the easiest that he could have taken on in only his third bout, but one that gives him the increased motivation he needs to get the best from himself.  He freely admits that the sparring with McKenzie was what he needed – or as he puts it, “the kick up the ass and welcome to the level that was required.”  It is a refreshing honesty from a boxer – not the pretence that he was expecting such tough preparation but reflection that tough preparation is part of the journey.

As part of that journey, Darlin will be one of the debut fighters for the new Goodwin Promotions set up at York Hall, with ambitious designs to transform the traditional home of English boxing in to a new boxing theatre.  Few plans have been released yet, but it promises to offer a new experience to fans and boxers alike.  Darlin appreciates the investment from promoter Steve Goodwin and his team.  “I take my hat off to Steve, he’s always one that is doing it for his boxers” he tells me.  “He’s never broken a promise – everything he does is for us and you can’t fault him.  This is another platform for us and will get us more exposure than before.  He’s a nice and genuine guy who is sticking to his word.”

When questioned about what lays ahead after October 17th, Darlin plays his cards not close to his chest, but deep under the layers of his clothing and out of sunlight.  When pushed about whether he would have Bennett and his title within his sights he is equally as candid.  “Look, that’s not down to me and I can’t comment about things like that.  I’m not in a rush and I know what level I’m at now.  That will be a conversation for me, John and Steve to have after I’ve taken out Porozovs.  There’s no looking past him, he’s who I have next and I will worry about the Southern Area after the 17th.  Whatever fight we come across next we prepare for and do the business as we do every time.”

He may not be giving away much about what lies beyond October 17th but Darlin is clear and concise about one thing – this date marks a new dawn for him.  The man from Kent sees this as his “official debut” – although his third professional fight, this will be the culmination of months of work with trainer John Cole and represents the opportunity to demonstrate the best of what he has worked at.  “It’s when I can walk in and say ‘I’ve arrived’” he tells me.  With a stacked cruiserweight scene to get his teeth in to beyond October 17th his arrival time is well planned and well aimed.  The journey from unlicensed title holder to new beginnings in the professional game is in its infancy for Darlin – October 17th gives him the chance to blossom.
 
Louie wishes to thank his ongoing sponsors Strood cars.