“It’s been a long time coming.”
Fifteen months ago, Nathan Gorman faced the biggest test of his 17-fight career when he attempted to end the hype surrounding Daniel Dubois and prove that he would be Frank Warren’s leading heavyweight prospect.
The two undefeated Brits had been on a collision course for a while and the pair finally squared off at the O2 Arena for the vacant British heavyweight title. By round five, we knew who had the world at their feet and who would have to rebuild.
On Saturday night, Nathan Gorman (16-1, 11 KOs) wants us to forget him as the man who was knocked out by Dubois and be known as a fighter who has learned his lesson, and remind fans why many picked him to win last July.
Fighting Richard Lartey, another part of Daniel Dubois’ Greatest Hits Volume One, isn’t exactly going from the frying pan into the fire but if the phrase were reversed then you might have an idea of what Gorman is going up against.
The Ghanaian is also returning to the ring for the first time since rolling the dice against ‘Triple D’ on an April night at Wembley Arena last year. Gorman had no interest in coming back to a routine contest this weekend. He wants some questions answered about himself and his career as he aims for a bit of momentum before hopefully challenging for the Lonsdale Belt for a second time in 2021.
Speaking to Boxing Social, Gorman said: “Let’s be fair, I could’ve taken an eight-rounder or a six-rounder, but I chose not to. I chose Richard Lartey because a lot of people know him. He’s a dangerous fighter because, if he hits you, you know what’s going to happen. You can’t be daft; I’ve got to be switched on with him and I’ve got to be clever, and also good on the night to beat him. These are the fights I want. When I hopefully get the win over Richard Lartey then we can push on again for titles because hopefully then I’ll be back in the mix.”
Gorman didn’t have to up the ante, but he wants to. While it is for the sake of his career and reputation, there is also a desire to be known as one of those traditional fighting men who took risks when others wouldn’t and, in the long-term, remembered as a man who did not have a padded record.
“I don’t want to be known in my career for, say, having 35 fights and not fighting no-one,” said Gorman. “I want to be known for virtually fighting everyone put towards me which I have done. Everyone put forward to me, I will fight and I still will to this day. That’s what I want to be known as.”
For a few moments, Gorman, through tone only, reminded Boxing Social of his travelling background and his fighting heritage. Had the conversation been in a pub, he might have ended it by declaring, “And I’ll challenge any man here who thinks otherwise”.
This weekend, Gorman knows that the viewers watching on BT Sport will be looking for any scars left over from the defeat to Dubois. He admitted that the short-term effects of losing produced three weeks of “sulking”, but a period of reflection and self-assessment has brought out a mature viewpoint of what happened.
“At the end of the day, everyone gets beat,” he began. “The thing is with boxing is it’s not all plain sailing. There are going to be bumps and bends on the road. It’s all upside down, boxing. It’s not straight. There is going to be bumps in your career. It is a bump but it’s a learning bump. It’s a learning experience for me because everything happened to me all in one night.
“I got my first cut, I got put down and I topped a big massive show. It was a big fight at the time so all this I can gain from experience. It’s only going to add to me, really. Don’t get me wrong, when I got beat, I was down, every fighter in the world is when they get beat because it’s not like you’re losing in a team. When you lose in boxing, it’s you who loses, you’re the only loser.”
Proof once again that boxing can be the loneliest sport in the world.
Gorman faced a powerful litmus test last summer and, on Saturday night, he faces a different kind of challenge. This test is of himself and what the last 15 months have done for him. Richard Lartey will keep throwing punches until Nathan Gorman has the answers, whatever they may be.