Previously unseen footage of tragic Irish Olympic bronze medallist Darren Sutherland is to feature in a new DVD released next month. The Navan boxer—whose father was a ntive of St. Vincent—won a middleweight bronze medal for Ireland at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and was tipped to be a future world champion. However, the 27-year-old was found dead last September in his south London flat by his promoter Frank Maloney. He had taken his own life by hanging. Nicknamed ‘The Dazzler’, he is remembered in never-before-seen footage on a new DVD.
The part-Caribbean boxer was one of three fighters chronicled in the multi-award winning documentary Saviours, which features three boxers over an 18-month period at St Saviours Olympic Boxing Academy on Dorset Street in Dublin. Seen in cinemas in 2008, the film won a string of awards but the filmmakers decided to delay the DVD release of the documentary after Sutherland’s death last year. Now, with the permission of his grieving parents Tony and Linda, they have completed a new tribute film to Sutherland which accompanies Saviours on DVD.
We might never know what it was that made Darren Sutherland take his own life. Born in Dublin to an Irish mother and West Indian father, Sutherland moved to London as a child before relocating to the island of St Vincent. His accent still reflected the years he spent growing up in the Caribbean, although he would ultimately return to Navan, in County Meath, while training and boxing in Dublin, the city he regarded as home. To those who knew him professionally as a boxer, the Irishman was bright, friendly and approachable. He was All-Ireland champion three years in a row and went to the Beijing Olympics believing he could win the gold medal. He started well but came up against his long-time British rival, James DeGale, who went on to win gold. A meeting between the two of them as professionals had been taken as a near certainty.
Sutherland, 27, was a fine boxer, with heavy hands and every prospect of fighting for a world title. The odds were, on the evidence of his first four contests as a professional – all early and impressive stoppages – that he would have made the sort of world champion everyone, friends, family and rivals, could be proud of.
For more go to http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2009/sep/15/darren-sutherland (on Suntherland) and http://www.californiachronicle.com/articles/yb/142726651 (on the dvd release)