IN HIS SIGHTS
Nathan Gorman tells Tris Dixon about sharing a ring with Joshua, Fury and Joyce, about his love for Mike Tyson and explains why top target Daniel Dubois is not on his Christmas list
Rising heavyweight Gorman reveals exactly who he is gunning for, and why
I HAVEN’T PROVED MY HEART, CHIN, DESIRE TO THE PUBLIC. BUT I WILL
HE’s not just a tidy boxer,” said Ricky Hatton. “He’s got a mean streak, too.”
Some say Nathan Gorman stole the show during Tyson Fury’s comeback bill at the Manchester Arena three weeks ago.
He nearly halted 12-1 Sean Turner in the second round but finished the job in the next session, his spiteful streak – along with a good dose of skill and variety – brimming to the surface.
“He was a very credible opponent,” Gorman says. “I know he was coming off two losses but those losses, one was apparently due to something he was doing in the gym and one was to the highly touted [Croat, Filip] Hrgovic. And I put on a good performance and stopped him in three rounds. If the rounds had been longer I probably would have stopped him in the second, if the bell didn’t go. Some people say I stole the show but it is what it is. I just got in there and done the job.”
The performance saw plenty sit up and take note of Hatton’s heavyweight protégé who is one of a cluster of exciting young big men in the country.
He and London rival Daniel Dubois are the babies of the division at 22 and 20 respectively. They seem to be on a collision course. It is a fight Gorman wants, though he will not rush his career.
“I’m only 22 years of age so in the next five years I’m still only going to be 27 so there’s a long road ahead of me, you know?” he asked rhetorically. “Why sprint before I can walk – when there’s plenty of time for me. Each fight is crucial because it’s all learning and all experience. I only had about 10 fights as an amateur so I need as much experience as I can get. Because once you get there, you want to stay there.” Gorman is 13-0. Dubois is 8-0. “Domestically there are potentially some megafights out there,” Nathan excitedly points out. “You’ve got me, Daniel, Joe Joyce, all the lads coming through and some lads I know coming through and after the Olympics Frazer Clarke will be coming through so it’s probably the best time for British boxing as a heavyweight now. I don’t think there’s ever been an era like this for Britain in the heavyweights. My rival is Daniel because we know each other from the GB days. We know each other very well. He knows me and I know him. It’s a fight he wants and a fight I want and it’s a fight that makes sense as well. He’s a good fighter but he’s very very beatable. Obviously he’s got good power but have you seen him being hit yet properly? And he can’t hack movement because he doesn’t like it.”
JOSHUA IS VERY GOOD BUT AT THE TOP TIER I WOULD PUT FURY
Having sparred with many of the best British big men today, and having done hundreds of rounds with Dubois, Gorman reckons he has the beating of the heavy hitting Londoner. He is also aware that there is more hype and expectation around Dubois, even though he has had fewer fights than Nathan.
“Definitely,” admits Gorman. “He’s had the platform from day one hasn’t he?
“I haven’t. I’ve had to do the small hall shows. He’s been fighting people, no disrespect, who he can knock out easily with a jab so he’s looking good on television and he gets the hype behind him. It doesn’t bother me at all, good luck to him. But at the end of the day I will go at my pace and if our paths cross they cross and if they don’t it’s one of those things.” “Do you like him?” “Put it this way, he wouldn’t be the first on my Christmas list.”
Gorman is good company. He speaks well, is clearly ambitious and keen to learn.
It is no faint praise for distant relative Tyson Fury when he says the linear king is the best he has sparred given that Gorman has gone rounds with Anthony Joshua, Derek Chisora, Joe Joyce, Frazer Clarke, David Price and Lucas Browne.
“By a long way,” Gorman continues, explaining why he feels Fury is the best of those he has worked with. “We’ve been training in the gym with Ben [Davison] and we’re obviously related down the line so we go back a long way. I’d never sparred him until he came to the Hatton Gym. Obviously I’m going to spar the unified heavyweight champion of the world if I can and when he’s sparring it’s class. He’s a very clever boxer. He knows his way around the ring. He’s very awkward to hit, he’s got very fast hands. He’s by far the best I’ve shared the ring with.
“Joshua is very good. He’s a world champion but at the top tier I would put Tyson. He’s so clever.”
It is another Tyson that helped entice Gorman to the sport. “Iron” Mike Tyson was a proverbial baby himself when he crashed and bashed his way to the WBC heavyweight title at the age of just 20, a record Gorman cannot see being broken.
“He’s my idol,” Gorman smiles, clearly happy to be talking about the controversial great. “He just didn’t care, he didn’t care about his opponent. He just wanted to hurt him. I don’t think he wanted to win, I think he genuinely wanted to hurt people. He was an animal.”
It was the magical night when Tyson turned Trevor Berbick’s legs in 1986 to rubber to capture the WBC belt that most inspires Gorman, but it’s another modern great who motivates him every day, the aforementioned Hatton.
It is a pairing that has seen the stock of both rise; Gorman as the fighter, Hatton as the coach.
“At the time I was on the Great Britain squad and I used to go to the Fight Factory in Stoke and I trained down there,” Nathan remembers of how the alliance formed. “My manager Mick Carney said, ‘Would you like to go and do a pad session at Ricky Hatton’s?’ Obviously every boxing person in Britain is a big fan of Ricky Hatton so I said, ‘Of course’. I went down there, done an hour, hour-and-a-half with Ricky, on and off, he liked what he saw and he kept inviting me back. Prior to being on the GB squad I would go back once a week to him and do pads. I ended up going to a tournament in Poland and I got a bad decision, I got robbed of the gold medal and I thought this amateur game isn’t for me anyway. Plus I wanted to go pro anyway, all the time I was on the GB squad. I never really liked the GB set-up. So I had a chat with Ricky and he said if you’d like to turn over I will train you. I jumped at the offer.
“He’s helped with everything. He’s turned me from amateur to professional, from a boy to a man, being a professional in and out of the ring. He has a saying, ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ If you start slacking in the gym, he won’t let you. You’ve got to give 110 per cent. It’s hard. It’s very hard.”
There is further inspiration, too. The success of Fury and another world champion traveller Billy Joe Saunders – WBO middleweight king – demonstrates that the top titles do not have to be out of reach, they are attainable.
“They’ve set the benchmark and shown it can be achieved,” Gorman adds. “Obviously Tyson being unified heavyweight champion of the world, Billy Joe being a world champion at a lower weight… They’ve set goals for younger fighters like myself coming through showing that it can be achieved.
“When me and Tyson are in the gym we have the craic with each other. He’s a lovely person, is Tyson. Everyone only knows Tyson for the camera but when you get to know him he’s a lovely fella.”
Gorman doesn’t think he would box either Tyson or Hughie Fury given that they are related down the line, though he thought Hughie “boxed very well” to win the British title from Sam Sexton last month.
His long-term goal is a world title, and he would like to box in New York’s Madison Square Garden one day but he realises he has plenty to show before fans can believe he is for real.
“I haven’t been in a proper war yet,” he assesses. “I haven’t ticked the boxes for my chin, heart, desire
GETTING BETTER: Gorman turns on the style against Turner
FRIENDS AND RELATIVES: Fury larks around with young Gorman
NO ESCAPE: Gorman pins Mohammed Soltby on the ropes