IF you are currently ranked somewhere in the top 20 heavyweights in Great Britain there’s every chance you are good enough to take the WBA ‘regular’ heavyweight title from America’s Trevor Bryan.

That’s according to former British heavyweight title challenger Nathan Gorman, a man who has not only spent time studying Bryan but has also shared a ring with Bryan’s opponent this weekend, one Daniel Dubois.

For reasons he will soon explain Gorman, having done his research, feels Dubois is destined to brush past Bryan with ease when the pair meet in Miami and believes, too, that there are scores of other British heavyweights who would have just as much fun in the company of Bryan if granted the opportunity.

Whether this view says more about Trevor Bryan, the health of the British heavyweight scene, or the sheer absurdity of the WBA ‘regular’ heavyweight title is up for debate. All that really matters, though, is that Gorman has seen enough of both Dubois and Bryan to predict with a fair degree of certainty how their June 11 encounter will play out.

“He’s got a very good ranking with the WBA but he hasn’t really fought anyone of any real calibre,” Gorman said of Bryan, 22-0 (15). “I don’t want to discredit the man’s career. He’s done very well, and I have respect for everyone who makes their living as a boxer. But, looking at the two, I do believe Daniel stops him within three rounds.

“Truthfully, I think the heavyweights in the top 20 in Britain would beat Trevor Bryan. I could be wrong, but that’s what I feel having watched a lot of him. Even some of the young prospects we have in this country would be able to beat him, in my opinion. He just isn’t at that sort of level. He’s very limited.

“Then again, he’s a big 18-stone man and can probably punch. So, if he lands on Dubois, he has as much of a puncher’s chance as anyone else. Dubois will be right in front of him throwing big punches, too, so you never know.”

Daniel Dubois
Daniel Dubois, James Chance/Getty Images

While much of Gorman’s Trevor Bryan research has been aided by YouTube, he does of course have first-hand experience with Dubois. It was in fact this experience that resulted in the only blemish on Gorman’s 19-fight record; a fifth-round stoppage loss he rues to this day. Not only that, the occasion, and events surrounding it, almost trigged his exit from the sport.

“My dad wanted to pull me out the night before,” he recalled. “He said, ‘You’re not right, son. I know you’re not ready to fight. You’ve got too much going on at home. You need to go home to your family.’

“All throughout camp my dad wanted to pull it, but I was probably too stubborn and cocksure to listen to him. That all comes with experience. Back then, I thought I’d be all right. I put it all to the back of my mind. But it doesn’t work out that way, unfortunately. Or at least not when you’re involved in high-calibre fights. Daniel’s a very good fighter. You’ve got to be 100% right. You can’t be even 95%, and I was probably at 40%. Never in a month of Sundays should I have been boxing that night. It was like climbing Everest with no climbing gear.”

Gorman, 18-1 (12), added: “After the Dubois fight it was really 50/50 in terms of whether I would come back or not. I had a lot of stuff going on at home, and a lot of stuff happening to people in my family, and I really was considering giving it up.

“I had about three or four months off after the fight, I did what I wanted to do, and I spent some quality time with my family because I needed to. I remember then going back into the gym with my coach Nathan Clarke and doing two or three rounds on the pads and feeling knackered. But from there I just fell back in love with it.”

Now back in love with the sport and preparing to return to the ring next Friday (June 17), Gorman, 25, is trying not to think too far ahead but is nevertheless confident his best days are still ahead of him. His path back continues with a fight against Tomas Salek in Liverpool, live on Channel 5, but even before that he will sit down to watch Dubois and Bryan go head-to-head in America, his analytical brain always at work.

“I hope Daniel wins because he can then bring that belt back and fight someone from Britain,” Gorman said. “I’m all for those domestic fights. I think they are the most interesting fights you can make. I think there should be more of them. In Britain alone we’ve probably got the best era we’ve ever had for heavyweights. We need to make the most of that.”

If hesitant to argue his case for a title shot at this moment in time, Gorman still retains hope that later this year or next year he will have sufficiently progressed up the rankings to warrant one. Better yet, if Dubois, 17-1 (16), should continue on his path towards world honours, there is always the possibility that a rematch between the pair could be twice as meaningful as their first encounter, back when both were still green and up for grabs was a vacant British title.  

“Maybe so. Maybe we could dance again. I’d like to,” Gorman said. “He’s got this WBA ‘regular’ title fight against Trevor Bryan and that’ll be over not long after it starts. If I can then get a good world ranking, and keep winning, you never know what’s around the corner.”

It’s true. You don’t. Assessing the current lay of the heavyweight land, Nathan Gorman may appear to be all-seeing, all-knowing and something close to a prophet. But, in reality, with two fists rather than a crystal ball, he is as clueless, susceptible and vulnerable as any other heavyweight, which, of course, says all you need to know about the unpredictability of the sport’s marquee division.  

*** For Gorman’s thoughts on his June 17 fight, the frustration of inactivity, and the importance of studying the opposition, check out next week’s Boxing News ***