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The White Rhino Returns

“I’m still the baddest, hardest man on the planet”

Sport

An interview with Dave Allen about his return to the ring and setting out to prove he is the most talented heavyweight out there, as well as the funniest.

Dave Allen, the White Rhino, the Doncaster de la Hoya, and a boxer who’s as funny and honest as they come. Almost too funny and honest, in the way he talks about his shortcomings and refuses to engage in a lot of the bullshitting that comes with the boxing game. Actually, scrap that, you can never be too funny and honest, and boxing fans will have nothing but excitement at seeing the return to the ring of Allen on Feb 8th (opponent TBC at time of writing). Last seen in the ring being defeated by David Price last July, he is now firmly on the comeback trail and in determined spirits to show exactly the talent he is and get to the top of the heavyweight tree. As he showed at one of our recent events, he is a hard guy who’s also smart and sensitive; heavily disguised under blunt Donnie humour of course. We grabbed a word with him just before he headed into his training camp….

Are you looking forward to returning, how’s your frame of mind?

I’ve got a bit of trepidation. The David Price fight didn’t end too well, but I’m looking forward to this next one. Boxing’s my life, it’s all I’ve known since I’ve left school. I miss the crowd, I miss the support so I’m looking forward to getting back into it.

What did you learn from the David Price fight?

You learn from every fight, I think for me it wasn’t the best me in there, but I got the best David Price. Fights aren’t always won in the ring, they can be won in the preparation. He was the better man, he prepared better and smarter and got the job done.

I learnt more about preparation than I learnt in the ring and that’s alright by me. I believe it’ll make me a better fighter in the long run, more than a better fighter, a better coach a better person everything.

What have you changed this time?

Well I trained hard for that fight and I’m training hard for this one. I think I’ll come in a stone and a half heavier for this fight. I got a bit obsessed last time with my weight, I wanted to look good and wanted to be light and impress people on the scales. But fights aren’t won on the scales, they’re won in the ring.

I’ll be a lot heavier than last time. I’m not fat or anything, just heavier, I’m eating good food, eating right, it’s just I’m thinking about boxing. I’m not thinking about looking good I’m just thinking about boxing. I’ve got a great face so I don’t need to worry about my body.

You can’t train good looks.

Exactly. David Price may have beaten me but he isn’t as good looking as me.

You’re coaching younger lads now, which seems to be something you’re enjoying – in teaching it does it also feed back into your prep?

Yeah I believe so, I do enjoy the coaching. It’s just nice to be busy surrounded by people. I spent a lot of my early twenties just locked away in my flat not really seeing another human being for days at a time. So the human interaction is nice. And just being with the boys with a common love of boxing brings us together. And yeah I do learn from it, I think whatever I teach them I do believe is the right way to go about things. That’s one of the refreshing things, to think about what’s right and wrong, how I should box, how I should behave, how I should hold myself.

I’m only 27 and I sound like an old man but at this stage of my life it’s literally just about enjoyment. If I’m not going t enjoy it I just wont do it.

 

A lot of people were saying on social media that you should retire last time, how do you handle that kind of thing?

I don’t listen to any advice from anyone on social media about boxing. There’s very few people who’s opinions on boxing I’ll take seriously. I’m not saying you can’t have an opinion, anyone can have an opinion, I have an opinion on football I have an opinion on cricket, all sorts. But in terms of taking anyone’s opinion of me on board, there’s very few people I’ll listen to. For me to listen to you and take it on board you need to have got to the mountain top. Know what you’re on about.

Mentally In terms of fighting I feel absolutely bulletproof, I’ve no qualms about it whatsoever, fighting is my bread and butter that I’ve done since I was a kid. I want to win.

Whose opinion will you listen to?

My fellow pros, the good ones who’ve done it and seen it, or the top trainers. In life you’ve got to experience it. It’s like in Good Will Hunting where Robin Williams says to Matt Damon you know all the books all the pictures all the paintings but have you ever been there have you ever done it? You’ve got to have been there and lived it and done it. I know it’s a weird film to use but I always hark back to that. You’ve got to have been through what I’m going through right now. Everyone’s opinion can be respected but hold more weight than others, is what I’m trying to say.

In the ring are you following a gameplan or do you take it as it comes?

I like to watch all my opponents before a fight, put a little thing together in my head about how I think it’s going to go down, whether it’s someone I can stop early or if it’s going to go long. But you’ve got to be ready to go 12 rounds, to go all night. With David Price my mindset was different, I thought I’d go in there for 3 or 4 rounds and take him out. I guess it was wrong. You should always prepare yourself for the full rounds. Realistically and honestly, I’m not really worried. I’ve been doing this for 11 years now there’s not much I haven’t seen or done in the ring. I know my limits, and my limits have been shown but there’s nothing I’ve been up against that’s made me worry for the future.

You did a great post with a picture of you covered in blood saying this was you’re happiest, looking for that one shot to get you out of trouble.

I was blessed with a lot of bottle. The Price fight has not affected my confidence in any way shape or form. I’m still the baddest, hardest man on the planet in my own eyes. And I look forward to proving it again.

The confidence hasn’t waned. Trepidation and fear is a different thing. But I’m not scared to go out there and do whatever it takes. Unless you’re really, really good, I’ll fucking get to you, and that’s my mindset, the one I always keep.

Did you have that mindset from the start, as a kid?

Not really, as a kid I was quite soft, quite timid. It was the way it was, from was always getting the back hand. I was always super strong compared to the average kid, but when I started boxing I was the furthest away from a warrior you could find. I was scared to death of getting out of breath, I got knocked unconscious in my first amateur fight, it was not even a dream that I was going to become the fighter that I did. I don’t mean how good I was, but stylistically. When I was amateur boxing I was always on the backfoot, running away, bouncing, dancing, moving away, doing anything not to get hit. I guess somewhere down the line it all changed.

Why did it change?

I think just growing as a man I guess. At 18, 19 I got a chip on my shoulder and wanted to prove myself in boxing and outside of boxing. I turned into a nasty soul for a bit of time. But then you grow out of that and at some point I went the complete opposite way, I went probably too soft. I’m 27 now and trying to find a happy medium.

Are you going to be just locked into heavy training in the run up?

Yeah but this fight is not the be all and end all, this is the start of me launching back so its building that belief and hopefully winning comfortably. So I’ll work as much as possible in the time but it’s one on the way to the next one and the big fight for me is probably 6 or 12 months away, or even 5 years. It’s not about putting in 100% all the time, you’ve got to hold a bit back because 6 to 12 months or 5 years is a long time. It’s about training smart not hard all the time.

Who are you looking to fight in the future?

I want to get back to where I was after the Browne fight. Same position, where I’m looking at fights that’ll put me in the top 15 in the world.

What other non-boxing things help you mentally prepare or relax ahead of a fight?  

I like to relax by watching wrestling. Or watching paedophiles get caught on YouTube.

Follow Dave Allen for the latest on his fight on Feb 8

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