Capturing column inches is always an arduous task for the aspiring young prizefighter. However, it certainly helps if you’re a 6ft 3in, 18 stone hammer-fisted heavyweight, blessed with the finest bareknuckle breeding and trained by ring legend Ricky ‘The Hitman’ Hatton, writes Glynn Evans.
Cheshire colossus Nathan Gorman has already bludgeoned his way through half a dozen hapless pro victims – five before the scorecards were required – and the 20 year old traveller from Nantwich will be looking to further expand his fan club this Saturday when he is unleashed against Croatia’s Igor Mihaljevic at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena.
‘It’s scheduled for six rounds but I definitely intend to deliver a knockout for the Welsh fans. Boxers are not paid overtime and it’s bred in me to cause damage!’ says the former national junior champion and England rep who is a great nephew of ex ‘King of the Gypsies’ Bartley Gorman.
‘I was born and bred in brick but still go on the sites. Old Bartley died in 2002 when I was just six but every day I’m still told stories of his fights and exploits. My favourite is how he and one other fended off 20 or more on St Ledger Day at Donny (Doncaster) race track. Gorman is a great name to have.’
The big fella has been using his dukes to destructive effect for as long as he can remember.
‘When I was just five, my granddad bought me one of those ‘stand on’ punch balls and I’d smash it all day long,’ he recalls.
‘As a young lad, I was always fighting at school. Mixing around the travelling lads, I had a few ‘knuckle’ fights. I was always raised around fighting but me dad wanted me to do it in the ring. I tried to obey his wishes but I could never walk away when challenged. It was inbred in me. Let’s just say, I usually done alright!
Formalised fighting followed shortly after.
Nathan continues: ‘Since I first visited a boxing gym at eight, all I wanted to do was spar and fight. I had no interest in skipping or punching bags and pads.
‘I had my first fight at 70 kilos when I was just 11. I boxed out of the Crewe ABC gym run by (former British light-welter champion) Joey Singleton and I stopped this really tall lad from Tameside in the second round.
‘The big problem was there was no one for me to fight. At 11 I already weighed 70kg (almost 11 stone) and I was a fully fledged 95 kilo (15 stone) super-heavyweight at just 15. In eight years as an amateur, I only had 12 fights, winning 11, and four of those were internationals.
‘To be honest, I only started taking it seriously once I hooked up with (coach) Nathan Clark when I was 16. I won the ABAs (Youth), Three Nations and got on the GB set-up. I got to the semi finals of the World Youth Championships in Bulgaria but had to withdraw with a damaged jaw. The one fight I was adjudged to have lost, against a Pole at the Feliks Stamm tournament in Warsaw, I won easily. I’m still very sore about that.
‘As part of the Team GB set-up in Sheffield I did loads of sparring with the likes of (Olympic silver medallist) Joe Joyce and Frazer Clarke. I even did a few rounds with ‘Josh’ (IBF heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua) –a real good lad. I was just learning at the time but acquitted myself okay. I’ve never been knocked off my feet in my life.’
In late 2015, still only 19, Nathan conceded that money rather than medals had become his primary source of motivation and he penned a pro deal with ex two weight world champion Hatton.
‘I fell in love with the pro game the first time I went on the pads with Ricky. His advice is second to none. He’s got a world class eye and it’s the little things he shows me that make a big difference,’ says Gorman.
‘Already Ricky’s got me training for 12 round fights in the gym. He beasts me, expects me to train like an animal and I do all the runs, everything he says. You only get one shot at this and I don’t intend to leave boxing with any regrets.
‘I spar three times a week against quality, seasoned men like Richard Towers, Matty Askin, David Price and Dave Allen. I’m still only 20 so to do well is a real boost to my morale. Those I fight now, will be nothing like as good as those I spar.
‘Everyone says I’m very fast and I’m also very strong. If I hit you clean, I’m really gonna hurt ya! Unlike most heavyweights, I’m a brutal body puncher and in Hatton I’m being taught by the master!’
Despite just 16 pro rounds on his CV, Gorman served notice of his immense championship potential last time out by annexing the vacant Central Area strap by coldcocking Sheffield’s 6ft 8in David Howe with a monster right hand 2:27 into the opening session.
‘Howe had Ryan Rhodes in his corner so they must have thought something of him. A job well done!’ he assesses.
‘I never expected to fight for a title so early. Everything has gone just perfect. The only time I went to points, against a Croatian southpaw, I genuinely had a chest infection.
‘Right now, I’m looking to develop my physical size because I never lifted a weight until about seven months ago. Other than that, I just need to get some rounds in. If it was down to me, I’d fight every week.
‘Touch wood, I come through on Saturday, I’ll be looking to have another six to eight fights in 2017 and hopefully fight for a bigger title by the end of next year. It’s up to when Ricky thinks I’m ready. I trust him.
‘Long term, there’s some potentially huge British showdowns. It’s a very exciting time to be a British heavyweight and I can’t wait to get involved among the big names. That’s what pushes me to train harder but you can never look past your next fight so I’ll be right at it in Cardiff on Saturday. Expect another demolition job!’Tags: Nathan Gorman