By Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro
Just one week ago Darren Hamilton was a virtually unknown fighter. However since his total dominating performance over Peter McDonagh, to lift the BBBofC Southern Area Light Welterweight title at Spencer Fearon’s Hard Knocks Boxing Promotions excellent ‘Shamrock Showdown’ event, Hamilton has been receiving glowing plaudits from the media and boxing circles, with many comparing him favourably with Frankie Gavin.
The sensational eigth round stoppage win over McDonagh has rocketed Hamilton up the rankings, from #37 to #15, and brought him to the attention of British Light Welter Champion Ashey ‘Treasure’ Theopane, who is said to be considering Hamilton as a voluntary defense opponent.
Those lucky enough to have scored tickets, for the sold out show, were treated to one of the best all action title battles of the year so far.
The first round started a little slow, as both protagonists felt each other out, Hamilton had made some radical changes to his fight style, instead of his usual covered up defensive style he was far more open in attack mode, and took control of the round behind a fluid jab.
More of the same in round two with Hamilton taking the fight to McDonagh. Not to say that McDonagh didn’t have some success with his counters, he did but Hamilton was flowing, his movement was supreme which caused most of McDonagh’s punches to miss, even when McDonagh had backed Hamilton on to the ropes.
McDonagh pushed more in third, constantly backing Hamilton on to the ropes. The big problem for McDonagh was that once he got him backed up he wasn’t able to take advantage of the position. Hamilton just dipped and swayed to avoid McDonagh’s huge shots before opening up with some of his own, which invariably landed. By mid way through the tables had turned and Hamilton was backing McDonagh up and letting rip with extraordinary levels of punches, most of which were hitting the target. McDonagh was already looking to be in serious trouble.
Round four was all Hamilton, incredibly he’d stepped up the work rate each time he corned McDonagh on the ropes. Often his 10-15 punch flurries were totally unanswered and it looked just a matter of time before the referee would step in to stop and the fight, but he didn’t.
More of the same in the fifth with Hamilton totally dominating the proceedings and pushing McDonagh back constantly before letting rip with exocet after exocet. About half way through the round it looked to be all over bar the shouting as Hamilton backed McDonagh into the corner and let rip with a heavy handed twenty four punch flurry ending with a big overhand right to the head followed by a cracking left to the body. McDonagh legs were gone but the savvy Bermondsey boy grabbed hold of Hamilton and hung on for dear life until his head cleared.
Hamilton was on a roll and secured the sixth in similar fashion. His constant attacks were causing McDonagh major problems. McDonagh tried to change his fight plan, by charging down Hamilton with wild swinging shots, however each forward move lead to him being on the receiving end of a multi-punch double handed counter.
Round seven was virtually a replay of the fifth, with Hamilton walking McDonagh back onto the ropes before letting rip with heavy handed unanswered ten-twelve punch combinations, all of which were now landing as McDonagh’s defense was virtually gone.
Hamilton stepped it up even more in the eighth, chasing McDonagh around the ring letting off overhand rights and heavy body shots at will. McDonagh was taking so much punishment and a knockout end to his title reign looked inevitable. His corner were looking concerned as late on Hamilton launched yet another vicious attack which lead to them throwing the towel into the ring with just two seconds of the round left on the clock.
Following a light work out session, at the Real Fight Club in Shoreditch, Hamilton talked briefly on the fight and his championship plans. “Without sounding too big headed, I really didn’t think it was going to be that easy, but at the same time I enjoyed it, I enjoyed every moment of it.
I saw what his gameplan was from the beginning. I thought before he even came in I said to myself that’s what his gameplan is going to be, he’s gonna to try and wear me out for the first four rounds. He’s going to make me throw lots of impacts that’ll catch him on the arms.
In my head I immediately said to myself that as soon as he starts doing that I’m gonna, as soon as he starts doing that and I’m catching his arms and gloves I’m not gonna over excert myself.
When I found that the effect of the right to his body I realised there was no need to stop doing it. I’d been training to punch non-stop for fifteen, twenty, twenty five rounds continuously, so I knew I wouldn’t out punch myself. It would be impossible to do so. I just kept going and when I caught him with a good body shot I heard him wince, I heard the wind come out of him. So I just kept applying the pressure, applying the pressure.
By the secon or third round I knew I’d won it. I thought all I have to do is just keep going. I kept listening to my corner, I kept listening to Spencer (Fearon) and my friends, who were telling me to keep jabbing, keep the pressure on him, so I did until I stopped him in the eigth round.
I think the show Spencer put on was amazing. From the spectators point of view they got much more than their moneys worth. I was at the back, usually I’m a guy that loves to go first and then I enjoy coming out and watching the fights. I was just sat there but I could hear, I couldn’t see the fights obviously because I was out back and wasn’t allowed to come out of the dressing room. But hearing the cheering itself, it sounded like back in the day, like gladiators in an arena, that sort of roar, it was exciting. The atmosphere, the sounds, everything together was really good as Spencer did a great job putting together a great show.
What’s next on the horizon, the British, British Masters, I don’t know. I’ll go in whatever direction Spencer thinks is best for me. Anyone they put in front of me I’ll fight. But I wouldn’t mind a crack at the British title, definitely.”