Solomon Dacres on the recent showing of his sparring partner, the switch from Matchroom to Queensberry, and his difficult debut for his new promoters.
(With Shaun Brown.)
BN: What was your immediate reaction to your performance against Michael Webster on November 18?
SD: Just thank God I got the win in that one (laughs). It weren’t my best performance. I wasn’t sharp, I wasn’t anywhere near my best. It was short notice, two weeks. I’d been away for five weeks with [Tyson] Fury doing bits of sparring. When you’re a sparring partner, you’re not really doing the rounds for yourself. So, I was ticking over doing a bit of sparring, got the call-up and had to take it really.
BN: Did you think that you had won?
SD: I was feeling at the end, ‘I won this by one maybe two rounds.’ I knew it’d be close with that point deduction as well. A few rounds I managed to score, and I come back a bit. The last three rounds I managed to score a few good shots to secure them rounds, just about.
BN: What was it that prompted your move from Matchroom to Queensberry?
SD: A few things. My contract was up with Matchroom, so I was going to look at offers anyway. We got a good offer with Frank [Warren] and, I was looking at the platform [TNT]. They had the British title fight there. I was with Tyson Fury in his camp. So, him and [Fury’s manager] Spencer Brown were telling Warren, “You need to get this kid, he’s good”. So that helped a bit. They put a good offer on the table. Went back to Matchroom with the offer and they said, “It’s a really good offer, we can’t match that”. The British title on their platform was obviously one of the big reasons and all the heavyweight action is there.
BN: Looking back on your experience with Matchroom are you happy with it all? Satisfied?
SD: Yeah, I can’t say nothing too negative about them. I just feel like I can kick on even more now. I don’t think I was really at the forefront of things at Matchroom [or] promoted that great. I wasn’t pushed loads. But I wasn’t mistreated by any means. Things are changing [and] I’m moving on.
BN: Moving into 2024 is all your focus on Fabio Wardley and the British title or would you be happy to go in a different direction?
SD: The British title is one of my goals. I’m in boxing for big titles. I’ve got an English title, what other option is there if I want to do something? I want to win a British title. There’s no reason why I wouldn’t want to go for that next.
BN: What did you think of the recent British title fight between Wardley and David Adeleye and the performances from both?
SD: It was decent from Wardley, he did what he had to. Adeleye, I thought, was very poor. Straight on the back foot, not really giving much back, maybe just looking for a one knockout punch. He didn’t really set up things to try and win the fight. And Wardley put the pressure on, he [Adeleye] got tired and he took him out of there. I thought it would go that way anyway.
BN: Watching Wardley’s post-fight interview you were there next to him. Had that been your thinking? To get in there and get yourself known.
SD: A little bit. I wasn’t planning on going over and jumping in or gatecrashing. I was literally right there anyway. Frazer Clarke got his head in the ring, so I thought [if] Frazer’s doing it then I’ll get in there and say a few bits.
BN: Has the transition from the amateurs to professional boxing been harder than expected or smooth sailing?
SD: No, it hasn’t been smooth sailing. It’s pro boxing, it’s a hard game. At Team GB you’ve got a team of people that does everything for you. When you turn pro you realise, you’re your own entity, you’ve got to sort everything out. The training, your physios, all these costs incurred on yourself. Everything’s on you. You’re the entity. It is a bit more difficult. I’ve got a good management team with S-Jam who sort a lot of things out but a lot of stuff you’ve got to do yourself. It’s not as simple as train, turn up and box. It’s more of a business.
BN: You sparred Fury before he fought Francis Ngannou. What were your thoughts as the drama was unfolding?
SD: When he got knocked down everyone was like, wow, what’s going on here? It was a big surprise. He [Fury] was very sharp in sparring. Even the last spar he was very sharp, he sparred me, and Joseph Parker and he was on it. Obviously, it didn’t translate into the ring on the night, and he nicked the win. Ngannou was probably a lot tougher than he thought and difficult to pick apart. He was very strong and very powerful. It was a much harder fight than I think he anticipated.
BN: Do you think Fury beats Oleksandr Usyk on February 17?
SD: I still think he beats Usyk. It’s a different fight. I think he can let his shots go and not worry about one bomb coming [back]. Maybe catch a few shots, work on him. He’s got the size advantage. Don’t get me wrong Usyk is an exceptional boxer, but I think you can take more risks with him and that will pay off a bit more in there.
BN: What do you think of Anthony Joshua’s progress in the last 12 months. Do you think he’s in a good place to take on Otto Wallin?
SD: He’s obviously at the back end of his career. Boxing careers can’t go on forever. He might have hit his prime, hit his peak but it feels like he’s got a lot more in the tank. He’s fighting guys that he feels can give him some good wins under his belt. It’s just the natural way a boxing career can be. You’re not always going to be on top. It’s going to hit a decline at some point. It’s about getting out at the right time before you go past your best too much.
BN: When you see a career like Joshua’s is that what you want, even considering all that scrutiny?
SD: I just want to be myself to be honest. It’s typical in boxing. You try to learn any lessons from anyone that’s come before you. I’m not one that would like to be all over the media. I’ve got my own private life. But once you get to a certain level, things get more invasive. For me, I’m just going to be myself and do my best. See what comes with it.