Featherweight prospect Dominique ‘Black Panther’ Wooding has come a long way in a very short space of time. Often feared by opponents in his previous weight category Wooding’s management would often despair described to me the difficulty of arranging clashes. What appeared to be a consistent theme was, as fight night approached, opponents would inevitably have a change of heart and pull out of scheduled clashes with Wooding.
As is usually the way for those matched with him Wooding’s debut for Bellator was postponed as his intended ‘victim’ pulled out due to injury a point which Wooding, in response to this point, has clearly no intention of letting go unnoticed. “It was very frustrating not being able to fight on that Newcastle card after all the hard work that was put in to compete that night,” he said. Continuing he offers, “Getting an injury a couple days before your fight is not very smart. Fight week, you’re meant to go through the motions, not train like a maniac, then go ahead and injure yourself knowing you have the biggest fight of your career. It is what it is now, I’m focused on May 4th.”
On Saturday ‘Black Panther’ will face off against David ‘Demolition Man’ Khalsa a fighter in need of a win having lost three of his last outings. Khalsa has been on Wooding’s radar for a while as he reveals, “Me and David have fought on the same cards before so I know how he’s like as a fighter. He’s game but like I said for my last opponent, he is not on my level, and that is all. I predict a finish. I am feeling very dangerous for this fight. No corners has been cut and this is the best I’ve felt before a fight.”
It will have been a year since Wooding last competed, a point not completely lost him. If, like myself, you have perused his Instagram, a constant theme is his pursuit of perfection. From all accounts it’s pretty clear he has used the time off wisely taking the time he’s been away to improve his game. The evidence of which we will undoubtedly see on fight night. He is keen to assure fans that they will not have to wait as long until his next outing.
” I’ve taken these extra few months I’ve gotten to prepare for this fight as a positive outcome. I’ve had a whole year to improve my game and I’ve evolved as a fighter since my last fight and you’ll all see that come fight night. I’m ready to drop jaws and make a statement.”
I want a busy year. Potentially I can have three fights this year if I could have more it would be great. I need to get them wins and cash in them cheques.”
It’s apparent from Wooding’s rhetoric that he has a clear sense of purpose and is well seized of his ambitions and what fighting regularly will bring him. “I was born and bred in Edmonton,” he reveals. As someone who also spent alot to time in the area I can recognise the direction of travel of Wooding’s words. Continuing he explained, “Edmonton is known to be a rough area here in London so a lot has gone on during the years I’ve been growing up here.”
Just a cursory glance at news reports earlier this month, in which a serial knife attacker seriously wounded several members of the public in an unprovoked succession of violence over several days, illustrates Wooding’s point. Edmonton, situated in the north of London is, like many deprived areas in the UK, a dangerous place to be.
“People that come from Edmonton are not meant to come out and succeed knowing how the area’s like and due to statistics, but now we’ve got a few people from here, including myself, that are doing good things, inspiring others within the area to do good and make something of themselves.”
Whilst being mindful of the task at hand it’s clear Wooding has his eye on one of Bellator’s biggest scalps, James Gallagher. A win over him and the prospect of testing his skills against one of SBG’s brightest stars is something Wooding clearly relishes the possibility of manifesting. “I like a fight between me and James Gallagher at 135 or 145 in the near future. That’s a big European fight that everyone would tune in for 100%, but first my focus is on David Khalsa.”
Bellator Birmingham: Primus vs. Wilde will air live on free-to-air Channel 5 at 10 p.m. GMT on Saturday, May 4. Tickets are on sale now, and can be purchased from TheTicketFactory.com and Bellator.com, as well as the Resorts World Arena box office.
For further information visit Bellator.com