Happy, healthy David Allen on getting back on track with ring return
“For the first time in my life, speaking to you, I can say that I’m genuinely happy.”
These words from David Allen mean plenty.
Putting into context, the Conisbrough heavyweight has been speaking to the Free Press for the best part of a decade. Since a promising amateur career, turning professional and becoming one of Britain’s best loved fighters.
He has battled gambling addiction and mental health struggles that have threatened to derail his career and have certainly taken it off course on several occasions.
But, eight years into life as a pro, he stands with a twinkle in his eye that has been rarely seen and one that finally backs up the smile that lights up a room.
David Allen looks happy.
The 27-year-old will get back in the ring on Saturday night in Sheffield in the first of a couple of tune up fights as he looks to put himself back among the domestic elite.
It will be six months on from his devastating defeat to former Olympian that left Allen with injuries that threatened his career.
Saturday’s bout itself is not much to get excited about, for Allen or his adoring, ever-growing fan base.
But the fact he will be back between the ropes at all is a huge boost.
“It is what it is - it’s a six rounder, at seven o’clock, back at the Arena, going back to the old days,” he told the Free Press.
“I’m just glad to be back boxing.
“The process of getting my medical clear and fighting again has been unbelievable. People have no idea what it’s taken and it’s been really stressful. It’s aged me about 20 years in the last couple of months.
“I’m just happy to be back. I don’t care if it’s four o’clock in a three rounder - just to be back in there is amazing.
“I’ve just got to win the next couple of fights. The opponents aren’t going to be anything fantastic. I will win and I can get the big fights.
“There were many times when I thought I wasn’t going to box again.
“First of all, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to. Then I wasn’t sure if I’d get the medical passed.
“There was never an issue with my brain scan. From what I understood the issue was I was having concussions on my spine, it was travelling down my back.
“I had paralysis in my arms and legs after the last fight. But it’s all clear now and I feel fantastic.
“I do feel good. I’m only half fit for this fight but I only want to be half fit.”
It is not just the process of fighting again that has Allen beaming.
He has become a mentor for a growing group of young fighters, needing guidance as they make tentative steps into the pro ranks.
His first student was Danny Murrell, a promising amateur from Doncaster. And Allen credits the youngster with changing his life.
“The boys I train have helped me really,” he said.
“They get me out of bed every day and when I get out of bed, they’re telling me I’ve got to train. If I don’t, who are they to listen to me?
“Little Danny has changed my life. People say having a kid changes your life and I guess it does.
“He might have been my 15-year-old baby when I met him but he’s the kid that changed my life.
“I’m so proud of him. He’ll be a superstar in the future.”
“I can have all my achievements but I’ve got to put the graft in. I’ve trained really hard for a good four to five weeks for this.
“It’s not great but it is what it is. I’ve done what I can with the time allotted to me.
“But I’m happy, I’m enjoying boxing.”