Dave Allen targeting British heavyweight title in 2023
Allen: "I got the bit between my teeth, I want to win the British title in 2023"
The 'White Rhino' David Allen (20-5-2, 17KO) is feeling fitter than ever as he returns to professional boxing to challenge for the British title.
The 30-year-old from Conisbrough only fought once in 2022, on Fightzone, scoring a second-round stoppage against Bulgarian, Milen Paunov, who had only been stopped once before.
But now, the Yorkshire man is back, with his first fight of the year already scheduled for February 18th at Bramall Lane Platinum Suite in Sheffield on a Dennis Hobson promoted Fight Academy event.
Allen told Boxing UK exactly why he decided to return, "In the summer, I got to about 21 and a half stone, had my kid and that, I was done and packed up, I weren't bothered.
"At 30 now, I wish I had this mindset years ago, not even in terms of like 'cos I'm training, but being a bit more emotionally stable' I'm just a normal bloke now, no mad moments, none of that stuff, just somehow just decided, I said to my missus 'I'm not doing it no more', so I was training the lads and that, I was open to doing some other stuff, so I was enjoying the baby for a bit.
"Then I was watching this fella called Jon Wong doing all this training online, I just dropped him a message on the off-chance, not to do with boxing, I just said 'look I'd love to get fit, can I come through and do some training with you?', so I've been there for the last 11 weeks, and I've never been fitter in my life, to be honest. I started out just wanting to get fit, you know, I weren't thinking about boxing, wanted to drop some weight, I was really heavy; I'm down to around 18stone 2lbs now, which is the lightest I've been for years. Had my first spar the other day, and yeah, never felt better."
Allen was a popular fighter as much for his talent and skill in the ring than for his down-to-earth, jokey persona, similarly to Ricky Hatton before him. He often interacted wth his fans on social media and became a sensation in the UK, headlining the O2 Arena in 2019 against former world champ Lucas Browne and delighted the spectators with a sensational third-round knockout.
But in his next fight, at the height of his success, he received a one-sided battering from Liverpool giant David Price, forced to retire in the 10th round of a scheduled 12.
He then only managed to fight once in 2020, 2021 and 2022, winning against journeymen within the first half of the bouts.
"People took a shine to me, it was nice, but it got tiring, you know, it was hard. Around 2018, rolling from Nick Webb to Browne to Price, I were knackered! I'm quite introverted and I was doing 20 interviews a week, I was in London, I was here, I was being dragged all over the place, I were knackered. Then, a year after that, other stuff went on, the Dubois situation… I didn't want to retire from boxing, because I loved my boxing, but I were done. I was 28-years-old and was really unhappy, to be honest."
But his time away proved to be the best medicine for the perked up pugilist, "Stepped back, met a new missus, had a kid, grown up and probably just being myself for the first time. That was me [back then], but the dial was turned up to a million, but that time I had away from boxing was the best thing that happened to me.
"This is as good as I've felt, physically. Mentally, I'm a different bloke now, I look back now and think, well I was a kid. Just changed now."
Back in the mix, the Yorky's thoughts have turned to titles already.
"I'd love to come back and win the British title, maybe that's beyond where I'm capable of going but that's my aim," he humbly expressed. "I'm not thinking 'three fights from Joshua', and I'm not thinking millions of pounds, I'm thinking I'd like to box for the British title and I think it's within my capabilities.
"Yeah, so training with Jon just snowballed, the weight came off, I got fit, did a bit of sparring, and some other stuff, and just feel on top of the world, to be honest, so yeah got a date – February 18th – get a win there, feel like I've still got it, you know, let's pursue Wardley, he's the No.1 target. The British title is the target, not Fabio Wardley, but he's got it so hopefully that can be made sometime in 2023 if I get in good form."
On how many fights he would need to prepare for the likes of unbeaten British beltholder Fabio, Allen confidently answered, "In all honesty, I think one. I think I'm too experienced for him. I think he's great, I'm a big fan of him, he's exciting. For his inexperience, because he is very inexperienced, his background – the white collar – he's done fantastic, I do enjoy watching him, but on my best day, I'm too good for him.
"Winning the British title is everything. I said to my grandad, he's 92 now, he said he's holding on for me to win the British title, he says it all the time. The British title is the ultimate, yeah. Could I beat Daniel Dubois for the British title, could I beat Joe Joyce for the British title? No, I don't think so. Could I beat Fabio Wardley for the British title? Yeah. If I'm 100% fit and sharp and on the ball, 100% just too experienced for him. If I take him in the second half of the fight, I think I can beat him. So I hope to get him, to be honest, yeah I do, but we'll see."
Allen returns to the ring on February 18, broadcast live on Fightzone.
He concluded, "I need to look on the scales first of all, I need to win and I need to look good doing so. I'm really excited, I hope people get behind me."