“Kickboxer Darren Dougan
would love to hear his supporters ”
kickboxer Darren Dougan would love to hear his supporters in full
voice when he challenges for the Celtic super-middleweight belt
at The Loup tomorrow. But the popular store manager cannot because
like fellow sports star, snooker’s Joe Swail, he hears nothing
without his hearing aids.
Dougan, a Tae-Jitsu expert, was born with 30 per cent hearing in
both ears but that hasn’t stopped him making noises as a one-time
promising sprinter, Gaelic footballer, martial artist and now kickboxer.
He will challenge Paul Smith at The Loup in only his 11th career
fight, a remarkable achievement for someone who just began kickboxing
a year ago.
When he goes between the ropes, Dougan hears nothing. He relies
on hand signals from his coach, former four-time world champion
Billy Murray and from the fight referee.
But he says he has a big advantage over his opponents.
“It’s hard enough picking up some sounds but with headgear
protection it’s even harder,” he said.
“It may be hard to imagine for most people but when I’m
getting into the ring I cannot hear a thing and no matter how loud
the crowd is during the fight, I don’t know what’s going
on outside the ropes.
“I feel that I have a big advantage because I am not swayed
but noise or emotion and my only focus is on the guy facing me.
I rely on the referee stepping in front of me if he wants my attention
and it’s the same for my corner men.
“If you can imagine that a television’s top volume is
40, then I need it to be turned up to 38 before I can comfortably
hear it. That’s what I have to contend with when I’m
in the ring.”
Throughout his life the 34-year-old has battled on with impaired
hearing, never complaining. Now he has found the perfect competitive
sport that overcomes what was a disadvantage in team events.
“I wish I had gone into competitive kickboxing a lot sooner,”
“I have studied Tae-Jitsu for 12 years and I am now an instructor
in the art. But I always had a liking for kickboxing even though
I was a bit apprehensive about competing I’m glad I took the
“It’s hard to believe I’m now challenging for
a Celtic title. It’s a massive fight for me and I’m
very excited about it.”
Billy Murray isn’t looking forward to the fight as much as
Dougan: “The day after Darren’s fights I am the one
who is suffering because I lose my voice every time” said
“I have to shout but even then I don’t think that works.
I bang the canvas and scream and I’ve been told off by judges
in the past. We have to explain ourselves before each fight!”
Murray is confident Dougan will become a champion on Sunday.
“Darren has totally dedicated himself to the sport and to
winning. He is a wonderful person and a good guy to have around
the Prokick Gym.”
Sunday’s first bell sounds at 3.30pm. Tickets for Mayhem II
are available now, priced at £7.50 adult and £2.50 for