HE carries his hands by his side like the great Roy Jones Jnr, and can switch from orthodox to southpaw at will, but for all the apparent swagger Lake Macquarie boxer Manyang Dut brings to the ring, there is patience and perspective, too.
And for a former champion amateur boxer making his way into the professional ranks, such traits aren’t always apparent.
Dut, 24, of Kilaben Bay, will have just his second professional fight this Saturday night.
He’ll take on Rhyse Saliba in a super welterweight contest at The Star, in Sydney, on a Johnny Lewis promotion.
He’s looking forward to the exposure that comes from fighting at such a venue, and on a Fox Sports telecast. But he’s not getting ahead of himself.
Dut’s trainer Shane Wells said even if Dut continued on his winning way it would still take possibly 15 fights and several years before he could start to think about challenging for the Australian title.
Dut is coming off a unanimous points decision over Ray Ingram in Newcastle last October. He’s expecting Saliba to pose a different threat being an aggressive former kickboxer with two wins from his three professional bouts.
“Saliba just comes forward the whole time. I’ll be out to counter and out-box him,” Dut said.
The Lakes Mail first met Dut when he was a 16-year-old student at Toronto High School launching his career as an amateur.
He went on to win multiple NSW Golden Gloves titles in the 67kg division and, in 2012, won the Australian junior middleweight title from Queenslander Kolby Johnston.
Johnston is now ranked No 7 in Australia.
Dut has so far enjoyed the changes that come from fighting in the pro ranks.
“The gloves are smaller, and you’ve got to take your time more because of the three-minute rounds,” he said.
Wells said it’s not the only changes he’s seen in Dut.
“Manyang has matured. He’s a man now. There’s a calmness about him,” the trainer said.
Some things, however, remain the same for the boxer.
“You always get nervous before a fight,” Dut said.
“The nerves never go. They just become normal, and I’m used to it now,” he said.
With Dut’s maturity has come a better understanding of his methods and technique, Wells said.
“Manyang has reach and so he fights with his hands down. He’s got that distance. But it’s like a trap, so the opponents come into his range, and most of the time he hits them before they can hit him,” Wells said.
Dut is quick to sum up an opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, whether it be while watching a future opponent fight on video, or when he sits down at the end of the first round.
“We watched a tape of Saliba and both picked out a couple of things,” Wells said. “Manyang picks out weaknesses within a minute.”
The pair said they would take a very specific game plan into Saturday’s fight.
Dut splits his training time between Wells’ gym at Fennell Bay, and the Central Coast base of Dean Robinson who has worked with the likes of Jamie Pittman, Dillon Bargero and Michael Upton.
“Training with the professional boxers pushes you, so it’s good,” Dut said.