By Terence Dooley
Dean Powell’s funeral will take place at St. Alfege’s Church, Greenwich at 1pm on Tuesday October the 1st. It will be followed by a celebration of his life and achievements at the Trafalgar Tavern, Park Row. Over a week has passed since the matchmaker’s tragic death and his legacy will continue through the many matches he made before he died and via the careers of the fighters that have benefited from his hard work and dedication.
Indeed, Luke Blackedge’s British Super middleweight title shot against Paul Smith was one of the final fights that Powell put together. Some of the other fruits of work can also be seen this weekend when boxing comes to London’s Copper Box Arena for the first time, a bill that will be shown live on BoxNation this Saturday night.
The card was put together by Powell and features Billy Joe Saunders defending his British middleweight title against John Ryder, Derek Chisora versus Edmund Gerber for the vacant EBU heavyweight title, Frankie Gavin’s British and Commonwealth title defence against David Barnes plus an intriguing match-up between Liam Walsh and Joe Murray for the Commonwealth and WBO International featherweight titles. Both fighters are undefeated, 14-0 (10) and 14-0 (5) respectively, and it is the type of fight that Powell loved, two undefeated fighters with skills, grit and a point to prove.
My last meeting with Powell came on June 29th at the Bolton Arena. Smith had just regained the British 168lb belt with a terrific sixth-round stoppage win over Tony Dodson. Powell was part of the Liverpudlian’s team for that one. He was happy with the night’s work and had assured me that “Smigga” would be: “Fighting again as soon as possible” before talk turned to Powell's love of rooting through record shops in search of rare vinyls and his hopes for the forthcoming season.
After racing through a few previews and predictions, we exchanged handshakes and hugs before heading into the night. Had I known it was the last time I was going to see him I'd have thanked him once again for the immeasurable help and advice he has given me during my time in the sport, but we all too often think of what could and should have been said when it's too late to say or do it. True to form, his last words to me were words of kindness and concern, he offered me a few final pieces of advice before signing off with his usual: "God bless and speak soon". Time's the most valuable commodity we have, and Powell's time was especially scarce, but if he had it he would spare it for you and was always a pleasure to be around.
Powell was working on a number of fights prior to his death, so the fruits of his work will continue to come through in the coming months and years. Although he is gone the man who filled Ernie Fossey’s shoes after the legendary matchmaker passed away in 2003 — and filled them well — will not be forgotten.
Below are just a few of the tributes that have been published since his death.
“His contribution to our Championships is almost inconsequential when compared to his achievements in other spheres of the sport but he created probably 70 per cent of our Championships over the last 5 years or so and for that he will never be forgotten for at least as long as I continue to do this job.”
Simon Block — Chairman, Commonwealth Boxing Council
"Dean had great in-depth knowledge of the sport, he was meticulous in all his preparations, none more so that when he wrapped the hands of fighters. A boxers hands are his trade and wrapping a fighter's hands before a fight is an art in itself and nobody did it better than Dean. It always put me at ease when he was working in the corner of one of my fighters as we both had a similar tactical outlook for fights having watched and studied many videos together when matching our fighters, and importantly, he cared about the fighters."
"Dean was an extremely popular gentleman within the sport of Boxing. One of the world's best matchmakers with a high standing in the sport. I, and the Board, have lost a great friend and colleague and he will be greatly missed throughout the world of boxing."
Robert Smith — General Secretary, British Boxing Board of Control
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