- David Allen was in a London pub until 2.30 a.m. the night before his fight at the O2 Arena, fellow boxer Dereck Chisora said.
- Allen was outclassed by heavyweight rival David Price, given oxygen treatment in the ring, then stretchered out of the arena and taken to hospital.
- He is, fortunately, “absolutely fine” now, Adam Smith, head of boxing at Sky Sports, told Business Insider.
- Allen’s promoter Eddie Hearn downplayed the pub rumour by saying Allen doesn’t touch alcohol, but that the story, if true, would “certainly shock” him.
- “Maybe he couldn’t sleep and he was socialising, I don’t know,” Hearn said. “Dave Allen is a little bit of a strange character.”
- Visit Business Insider’s home page for more stories.
A rumour that David Allen was in a London pub until 2.30 a.m. the night before a devastating knockout loss has been downplayed by the fighter’s promoter Eddie Hearn.
In what was supposed to be a passing-of-the-torch fight on Saturday, domestic veteran David Price, 36, rolled back the years to outclass the up-and-coming Allen, forcing Allen’s trainer Darren Barker to throw a white towel into the ring to pull his fighter out of the bout before the 11th round.
Allen was given oxygen treatment on his stool, left the O2 Arena strapped to a stretcher, and was then sent to hospital where he had brain scans. He later said that he was “probably done” with boxing.
But Dereck Chisora, another athlete who competed at the Matchroom Sport event, said after his highlight-reel victory over Artur Szpilka that Allen’s last-minute preparations were questionable.
“From what I’m hearing he was in the bar [Friday] until two thirty in the morning,” Chisora told the YouTube channel iFL TV in the locker room after his win.
At a press conference to announce the August 31 fight between Vasily Lomachenko and Luke Campbell, Business Insider asked Hearn if he knew anything about Allen being in the pub.
“No, I don’t, and that would certainly shock me,” he told us on Monday. “But Dave Allen is a little bit of a strange character. He doesn’t drink … at all. He doesn’t touch alcohol, so he wouldn’t have been out drinking. Maybe he couldn’t sleep and he was socialising, I don’t know.”
Adam Smith, the head of boxing at Sky Sports, said he knew “nothing at all” about Allen’s apparent pub visit. “David Allen, as far as I knew, had trained extremely hard for the fight. Darren Barker is a good friend of mine and Darren had him in great shape,” Smith told Business Insider.
Smith then called Allen “a one-off” who has had “an odd career” and been “in some dark places.”
Hearn said: “Dave Allen is an enigma in himself. You just don’t know what you’re going to get from him. I wouldn’t say he’s mentally unstable but he’s unorthodox. Mentally unorthodox in boxing.”
When Allen was in hospital, he described himself as a “hard man gone old and soft the last 18 months.” He then said that over the last year his health had been “deteriorating.”
Hearn said: “He said a few discouraging things after the fight, talking about his health and stuff. The most important thing is that he’s happy and healthy, and boxing comes third after those two.”
Smith told us that he spoke to Allen on Sunday when he was recovering, and that he’s “absolutely fine” now.
“Listen, he was the betting favourite going into that fight so you’ve really got to look at David Price rolling back the years,” Smith said, pointing at the revitalized career of of a heavyweight who had suffered heavy, back-to-back losses last year, only to bounce back and win three on the spin.
“Price has been under severe criticism for so long. He could have mentally unravelled again on the big stage. I thought David was fantastic, at 36, he put on possibly one of the best performances in a number of years. So I like to talk about David Price, rather than what happened with David Allen.
“But … Allen was beaten because he wasn’t as good,” Smith said. “He wasn’t as good as David Price, the levels came out on the night. Just, thankfully, he’s ok. I had a chat with him on Sunday morning, he was devastated, but he was ok … that was a worry, that he was worse than he looked.
“Obviously he went out on a stretcher but he’s absolutely fine, his pride is hurt, and obviously he’s going to think about what he does in the future, whether he comes back or not. He’s still young. He’s only 27 so that’s up to him to work out, but we’ll support him, and all our best wishes to him.”
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