By Brendan White
The second anniversary of the death of boxer Darren Sutherland passed by with little attention just two weeks ago but his success will never be forgotten. Born on the 18th of April 1982, Darren Sutherland fought his way from amateur to professional with hard work and determination. What should have been an even more successful career was cut short, but the memory of Darren is certainly one that will live on.
Having started boxing at the age of 15 with St. Brigid’s in Blanchardstown, the former DCU Sports Science and Health student came to the fore in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Despite defeat to James De- Gale, Sutherland proudly collected a bronze medal in what turned out to be his last fight as an amateur boxer.
The World Amateur Championships in 2005 was a breakthrough year for Sutherland as he was defeated by eventual gold medallist winner Matvey Korobov. Again in 2007 Sutherland made it to match three before being defeated by Venezuelan Alfonso Blanco.
Darren joined up with boxing promoter Frank Maloney in October 2008 when he signed his first professional boxing contract with the press conference taking place in the Helix on the grounds of DCU.
After his first professional fight, a 2 minute 44 second first round win against Georgi Iliev in the DCU Sports Complex, promoter Frank Moloney was sure of the talent Sutherland had to offer, saying: “I think we’ve found a real superstar here tonight and it’s just the start of a big journey.”
Unfortunately, however, that journey saw Sutherland win just three more professional fights. Sutherland easily defeated Siarhei Navarka in his next fight before seeing off Georgian boxer Vepkhia Tchilaia. Arguably the toughest match for Sutherland saw him beat Gennadiy Rasalev.
That match goes down in history as Sutherland’s last. Ten weeks later, the news filtered through of the passing of Sutherland from him home in London. ”A tragedy for Ireland and the world of boxing”, his promoter Frank Moloney said after the news, adding days later that Sutherland was one of the best fighters he’d ever been given the chance to work with and one of the most talented.
Following more Irish boxing success in 2010, Ireland coach Billy Walsh dedicated the team’s success to the memory of Darren Sutherland.