Aberdeen-trained undefeated super-middleweight John Docherty today targeted a British title shot this year.
The 22-year-old will tonight bid to extend his flawless pro record to eight wins from eight when facing Pablo Mendoza in Sheffield.
Docherty’s clash is on the under-card of Kell Brook’s clash with Mark Deluka for the vacant WBO intercontinental super-welterweight title at the Flydsa Arena.
However, Docherty is determined tonight will be another major step towards facing holder Lerrone Richards for the British title.
Docherty said: “This is going to be my breakthrough year. I have to get a title in 2020, that is my aim.
“My target is to get the British title by the end of the year, that and the Commonwealth title. Whichever one comes up, I will be ready for it.”
Commonwealth title-holder Richards, 27, added the British belt to his collection when defeating Lennox Clarke on points last November.
Richards also holds the WBO International super-middleweight title but Docherty is confident he could defeat him now.
But engineering a British title shot could be problematic as Docherty is in Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing stable, while Richards operates under Frank Warren.
— John Docherty new (@johndoc56) February 6, 2020
Docherty said: “Richards had a long time out but then had two warm-up fights before fighting for the British title.
“He had that British title given to him because he has never fought anyone good.
“His last performance was absolutely terrible and I would be confident of beating him now, never mind in a few months.
“It is going to be harder to get a British title shot because the current champion (Lerrone Richards) is under a different promoter as Frank Warren has him.
“I will get myself in a position to fight for that, though. Every fight is a learning curve and I am learning in the gym.
“They (title holders) don’t want to give me too much time because I am getting better all the time.
“They should be fighting me now because I will be even more mature as a boxer by the end of the year.”
As an amateur, Docherty had a distinguished career boxing out of the Byron Boxing Club in Aberdeen’s Northfield.
Having won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2018, Docherty turned professional with MatchRoom Boxing and relocated to Sussex to train with Tony Sims.
There he trains alongside Scotland’s three weight world champion Ricky Burns, world title challenger John Ryder and highly rated fighters Conor Benn, Ted Cheeseman and Felix Cash.
Docherty made an explosive start in the paid ranks with his debut fight yielding a victory over previously undefeated Jordan Latimer inside 20 seconds.
Docherty’s next four fights all came with devastating early round knock-outs to earn a reputation as one of the hardest-hitting 168llbs prospects in the UK
His last two fights against Darryl Sharp and Lewis van Poetsch have all gone the distance under instruction from trainer Sims to get valuable
Now, however, he is gunning for knock-outs again, starting tonight against Mendoza who has a pro record of nine wins, all by knock-out, and three defeats.
Docherty said: “From now on, I won’t be trying to get the rounds in, as I will be going for the knock-out.”
For Docherty, recently a father, securing major titles represents everything, as he has no fallback.
It is all or nothing for the 22-year-old – which is why he is dedicating his life to the pursuit of success.
He said: “This is everything to me because if I fail in this I have nothing else to do.
“All I know is boxing, so when I train I have to put 100% into it. That is what motivates me most, knowing that if I fail what else am I going to do.”
Docherty’s quest for a British title shot continues tonight when facing heavy-hitting Mendoza.
All nine of Mendoza’s victories have come by knock-out and his three losses were at the hands of title holders.
Docherty said: “Mendoza is a game opponent who comes to fight. However, when they come to fight they will only get knocked out as they are easier to hit.
“I am happy with this opponent, as he is coming to fight and will not be running away or covering up too much. When opponents are open I can hit them clean and he will know about it.
“It is when you get journeymen who cover up and don’t want to fight, that is not good.”
Docherty has forged a formidable reputation as a devastating puncher and elegant boxer since turning professional.
That has led to frustration when sourcing sparring opponents in preparation for facing Mendoza.
He said: “It has been hard to get sparring over the last few weeks.
“They have either sparred and not come back or said they would and not turned up. It has been frustrating, but I just have to get on with it.”