2019 was a year of highs and lows for popular British heavyweight Dave Allen, and now the 27-year-old from Doncaster is set to return to action in a low-key, six-round fight on the Brook-DeLuca card this Saturday in Sheffield.
Allen (17-5-2, 14 KO) had a big night last April, main eventing at London’s O2 Arena, where he knocked out Lucas Browne in the third round on a body shot. But just three months later, seemingly riding high, the Allen wave crashed as he was dominated and stopped after 10 rounds by David Price.
There was talk after Browne that Allen, as unlikely as it may have seemed just months prior, could be a fight or two from a world title opportunity. He was favored against Price, but the big veteran shut Allen down and beat him up until the plug was pulled.
There was also chatter about Allen both retiring and returning. A scheduled date for a comeback was canceled as he took some time away from the sport, but now he’s back, facing 35-year-old club fighter Dorian Darch (12-11-1, 1 KO) this weekend. It’s no doubt meant to get Allen a win and maybe get his spirits going again.
Allen has seemed in good spirits this week. By appearances, he’s his normal self, able to joke and keep a sense of humor about things, but he also truly feels he still hasn’t actually shown his best in the ring on fight night.
“Even though I probably overachieved in terms of headlining the O2 — which I’ve never mentioned before — and numerous PPV appearances, I’ve only shown probably 20% or 30% of my ability for whatever reason that may be,” he said.
He is also honest that it may just never come out with the spotlight on, but he’s not giving up yet.
“I hope to show some of it Saturday. The best is yet to come in terms of what I can do. Whether it will ever come out on the night I’m not quite sure,” he admitted. “Maybe I’m just not built for performing in front of audiences and crowds. Maybe my best is always going to be in the gym but I’ve got high hopes and I’ve still got massive aspirations. I’ll keep them in my mouth for a bit longer but the belief is still there.”
Given his age, Allen is still young enough to put it together, particularly in the heavyweight division where fighters can peak a little later than they do in lower weight classes. It starts Saturday against Darch, who will obviously be the huge underdog, as the Welshman has lost six straight, all by stoppage within the first two rounds. The B-side fighter has been in the ring with Hughie Fury, Anthony Joshua, and Daniel Dubois in their prospect days, and has faced plenty of others who had less hype, some veterans like Eddie Chambers, and some fellow club battlers.