Over the past four years I have had the pleasure of getting to know Rohan Date, and he’s a gentleman out and out, a soft spoken man and a credit to his family and his chosen sport of boxing.
Since turning professional back in 2016 following a glittering amateur career, Rohan has blown away his opponents in double quick time and there’s no doubt whatsoever that the world is his oyster right now. However, to be successful in the ring means a great deal of hard
graft, for nothing comes easy between the ropes.
Rohan was born on April 12th, 1993 and is the son of Nora and Dr Sanjay Date, and is a sibling to Devon and Angelina. He was educated in St Declan’s and De La Salle and he completed his education in the WIT.
Rohan developed a love for boxing from and early age as he explained when we sat down together last week.
“I was only seven years old when I linked up with Billy O’Sullivan at his kickboxing club and then I met Bart Simpson at the St Saviour’s Boxing Club. I stayed there for some years before moving on to St Paul’s Boxing Club at senior level. At the moment I still work out at the St Saviour’s Club when I’m back home and it’s great to have so many friends in both clubs. The boxing family in Waterford is close knit and that’s replicated throughout the country. Paul Simpson has devoted his life to the club and I’m thrilled that he’s been managing my affairs in the past number of months.”
He continued: “I had my first professional bout in June 2016 and I beat a guy called Gerald Dah when I knocked him out in three rounds and that November I beat Stephen Okine in four rounds. I had a first round victory over Ferenc Szabo in May 2017 and then I put away Jade Karam in the first round at the Ring Kings event held at the WIT Arena back in February. Since then, I’ve been back to my base in Dubai where I’ve been working out in recent years but I’m back now in this part of the world and will be moving to Great Britain shortly.”
So what lies ahead in the immediate term for Rohan? “During the past few weeks, I’ve had two bouts cancelled and that can be head wrecking stuff. I’ve spent 11 to 15 weeks training in the mountains only for the fights fall through so I sat back to figure out where my career was going, but thankfully it would appear everything has come right for me. I’ve been signed up by an agency in London and David Coldwell, a former champion is deeply involved. He is now a prominent trainer and has worked with Tony Bellew and Jamie McDonnell. He is also involved with Sky Sports as a presenter and pundit. I’ve also been working out in the Josh Kelly camp. He boxed at the 2016 Olympics and is unbeaten so far as a pro. Like myself, he’s a welterweight so that helps both of us.”
Rohan stated: “My next fight is now set for Sunday, July 8th in Bracknell Green in London and that will be probably my biggest fight to date. I want to be the number one contender in Ireland and England and big bouts like this will go a long way towards helping me achieve that aim.”
Apart from signing with the London agency, there’s another aspect of that deal which pleases Rohan.
“There’s a link-up with the Reading Football Club and by all accounts there’s a big fan base in that area. John O’Shea signed for the club a few weeks ago and there is another Waterford man there, Paddy Carey, who is working at their academy. I’ll be there for around six months and I will be playing a big role in promoting boxing both at the club and in the Reading area. I’ve also been training with Paddy Gallagher from Belfast who won a gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. He is another welterweight who is doing brilliantly in the professional ranks and he’s been very helpful to me regarding training. We’ll be on the card at a big show in Belfast very soon.”
Since he came back to Waterford from Dubai, Rohan has been building up the hours running around the city and he has also been burning up the miles on the running track at the RSC, something which has brought back happy memories for him. “I was a member of Ferrybank Athletics Club when I was seven or eight years old and I fondly remember my coach Brid Golden. She thought me everything about athletics but unfortunately I haven’t met her since I came home. She’s probably there in the evenings while I am there in the mornings but hopefully I will catch up with her before I leave for London. The work she has put into the club and her entire family for that matter, has been amazing.”
Rohan has a burning desire to win the welterweight championship of Ireland before the end of the year and he knows exactly where he wants to win it. “Neil Power and his team staged a brilliant event at the WIT Arena earlier this year and that’s where I want to fight for the title. To stage such a big championship fight like that we’d need somewhere in the region of 5000 (punters) and I’m convinced we can do that. Boxing is at an all-time high here right now with guys like Craig McCarthy, Kelyn Cassidy, Barry Barnes and others doing so well and I’m convinced that the boxing loving people of Waterford would pack out the place. That is my dream and I’m determined to make it come true’.” As stated at the outset, Rohan is soft spoken and highly articulate and it’s always a pleasure to spend time with him. But when he enters the ring he is ruthless and fearless and he simply does not take prisoners. He is one of our really top class sportsmen and I for one have no doubt whatsoever that he will fulfil every one of the dreams he is chasing.