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UK News: Dean Byrne; Lucas Browne; Dignum; Saunders
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Irish welterweight star Dean Byrne features on Nathan Cleverly's massive undercard at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 28th April when he takes on Terry Holmes over eight rounds.

It's the first time world championship boxing has been held at the iconic venue in 13 years and it will televised live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546).

Cleverly headlines the action packed card with the fourth defence of his WBO World Light-Heavyweight title against WBO number four ranked Robin Krasniqi.

Boxing writer Glynn Evans talks to Byrne about his background, career and future plans.

Name: Dean Byrne

Weight: Welterweight

Born: Crumlin, Dublin

Age: 27

Family background: Iím the eldest of three. Iíve a younger sister and a younger brother. Me brother boxes. Heís 24 and took to it late. Heís just had his first couple of novice bouts.

Thereís always been boxing on me maís side of the family; me granddad and me uncles. Paul Griffin (the 1991 European amateur featherweight champion) is maís cousin.

Today I live in Mile End (east London) with me son Deano and me partner.

Trade: I do little Ďone-to-oneí personal training sessions and take seminars on personal fitness and my boxing career. Otherwise, Iím a full time pro.

Nickname: ĎIrish Lightningí. When I first turned pro it was ĎWhite Lightningí but I changed it when I went to America.

What age did you become interested in boxing and why? Dad took me down the Crumlin gym when I was about ten and within a fortnight, Iíd had my first fight against the visiting Ladywood club from Birmingham. I won so must have been a natural. I fell in love with it ever since.

What do you recall of your amateur career? I stayed at the Crumlin club all the way through my amateur career and was coached there by Phil Sutcliffe (a two time European amateur bronze medallist 1977 and 1979) who once boxed Daniel Zaragoza in the Olympics.

I had well over 100 amateur contests and Iíd say I only lost about 14 or 15. I won two All-Ireland Intermediate titles but, when I was just 17, I had a baby daughter who was Ďstill borní and, after that, I needed a bit of time out.

I shouldíve won the seniors too but, after easily eliminating the favourite Eugene MacEneaney by something like 20 points to 3, I celebrated a bit too early and got beat the following week by Keith Boyle in the semis. Beating MacEneaney was probably my amateur highlight. I also beat Paul and Patrick Hyland.

I boxed a few internationals. I beat (future British superfeatherweight champion) Gary Sykes and also (hot prospect) Bradley Skeete on a Dublin versus London Select show at Crystal Palace. I also got a bronze at a multi-nations in Bosnia and I boxed over in Australia.

The scoring in the amateurs was a joke. Boxing away from home Iíd always find myself about ten points down at the end of round one when Iíd felt Iíd dominated the round. It seemed they marked them up for me hitting them! Still, I enjoyed the amateurs and Iím not bitter. Whether your arm was raised or not, it proved a great learning curve that served me well when I began my pro career over in Australia and later in America.

Why did you decide to turn pro when you did? I went with an amateur squad to Australia which I thought was a great country. Maís cousin Paul Griffin was out there and I got working with (legendary Aussie trainer) Johnny Lewis and a guy called Jimmy Reynolds. They were very good to me. I decided to settle out there, went pro and, within five fights, I was Australian light-welter champion. They move you quick out there and, for my seventh fight, they wanted to get me an Intercontinental fight with someone world ranked which I thought was a little too fast so I took a step back and moved to America where I had a couple of aunts.

Tell us about your time in the States: I was looked after by Freddie Roach and trained at his famous Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California. My first spar was against Michael Katsidis and we had a bit of a war. I wasnít fit, had just come off the plane, but Freddie must have been impressed and said I could stay. I ended up there for three years, staying in the house Freddie has for some of his fighters beside the gym.

Sparring was mental. You think you can fight but the fellas over there can really fight! I needed to watch, listen and sharpen my own tools which is what I did.

I won six fights straight but didnít have as many as Iíd hoped because of visa problems. I had some hard, hard fights; fought a tall Mexican southpaw called Jose Reynosa who was 10-2 at the time, was smart and could bang. I dropped him three times but he just kept getting up (Byrne won unanimously after eight rounds).

Eventually I left because I was missing my son so much. I was missing crucial months out of his life I could never get back. Family is more important than boxing.†

You conceded your unbeaten record last October when, at just 24 hours notice, you stepped in for Frankie Gavin against Frank Haroche Horta: Yeh, I spent my first year back training in Manchester with Arnie Farnell. He had a great set of lads in Frankie (Gavin), Matty Hall, Ronnie Heffron, Don Broadhurst. It was a good crack and I did a lot of sparring with Frankie, a really talented kid, great skills, but I was still away from the family. Manchester might as well have been California.

A week previously Iíd outpointed Michael Frontin in an eight rounder and Iíd been out the gym resting on a couch for a week when I got the call. Iíd not had any southpaw sparring for a while either. I didnít even have any butterflies in the dressing room.

Horta was tough but slow and less strong than Frontin had been. (Dean retired on his stool after eight of a scheduled 12 rounder).Iíd love to fight him again to get over the hump. I know I could beat him.

Tell us about your back up team today: Iím managed and promoted by Frank Warren and really hope he can do for me what heís done for others.

Iím trained by Mark and Jimmy Tibbs at the TKO Gym in Canning Town and feel like I shouldíve gone there from the get-go. Being close to my family again, Iím really enjoying my boxing now.

I feel Iím really starting to come good. The Tibbs have had positive input in so many areas. Coming from America, I trained my heart out every day but theyíve slowed me up, showed me thatís not the way to do it. Theyíve improved my defence and head movement.

In sparring, you canít tell too much because youíre not trying to rip the guys head off -† just working on moves and defence - but Iím really looking forward to showcasing my talent with the help of Team Tibbs when I return in an eight rounder at the Albert Hall on 28th April.

Whatís your training schedule? Which parts do you most and least enjoy? At the minute, Iím training Monday to Friday mornings for a couple of hours with the Tibbsís at the TKO and I run every other day. I always have a good run on a Saturday morning.

At the gym, I do whatever Mark tells me but itíd be something like eight rounds of shadow boxing, alternating between one round with hand weights and one without. At the minute, Iíve been sparring (recent British light-welter challenger) Ben Murphy which has been very good. Then I might have 15 minutes on the bike and a ten minute skip before finishing with about 20 minutes groundwork for the core; the push ups, dorsels, bunny hopping up and down the gym. Iím learning a lot of new stuff and Iím really enjoying it. Thereís a lot of trainers and fighters at the gym from our camp and others, so thereís always lots of good banter.

I most enjoy the sparring. You can run and punch pads for as long as you want but, basically, tough sparringís the only way to really get fit for a fight. You need that physical contact. Iíve loved it since I was a kid. I least enjoy making weight and think Iíll be moving up to welter. My bodyís growing and lately Iíve become a lot bigger and stronger. With the extra seven pounds, Iím sure I can bring my power up with me.

Describe your style? What are your best qualities? Iím a box-fighter. Personally, I donít mind a scrap but my trainers are always on at me that Iíll win easier if I stick with my boxing. Iíve a bit of power in both hands Ė right cross, left hook- and I like to think Iím smart enough.

What have you found to be the biggest difference between the pro and amateur codes? When I first turned pro in Oz, I went into six (three-minute) rounds straight away. At the time, the amateurs was four-twos so you needed to learn to take your time. Still, Iíd advice all young fighters to Ďstay in schoolí (amateur) and get as much experience as possible. Use that World Series of Boxing, get to know the ring.

Who is the best opponent that youíve shared a ring with? Itíd have to be Pacquiao.

In Australia, I sparred Sakio Bika, Tony Mundine, Billy Dib, Lovemore NDou and Gary St Clair.† Then, at the Wild Card, any given day thereíd be any number of world champions in there and I sparred the likes of Pacquiao, Victor Ortiz, Amir (Khan) several times. Iíve sparred (Yuriorkis) Gamboa and heís superfast but Amirís speed is ridiculous, overwhelming. It took quite a while to figure it out.

But, overall, Manny would have to be the best. His work rate was unbelievable. Youíd not know what to expect. Heíd just detonate these explosive combos and heís very clever with. Freddie sees to it that he has excellent game plans. Every camp, Manny gets bigger, stronger, smarter.

All time favourite fighter: Iíd have to say Ali. Legend isnít he?! Growing up it was Prince Naseem (Hamed). He was ĎThe Maní.

All time favourite fight: Iíd say the first Pacquiao-Marquez fight when Marquez was down three times in the first round but clawed his way back to a draw.

Which current match would you most like to see made? Amir Khan-Kell Brook. Amirís a friend but I think Kell beats him. He has all aspects needed.

What is your routine on fight day? Iíll have a lie in until about 9.30 then Iíll have a porridge breakfast. You spend all the weeks in the build up analysing your opponent, considering your tactics so, on the day, I just want to try to forget about it, enjoy some time with my son, go the park.

When I go out the front door, Iím going to work, just as your average man does on a Monday morning. In the changing rooms, I like to put my feet up and listen to what my coaches want me todo. I try to stay as calm and relaxed as possible.

Entrance music: ĎShipping Up To Bostoní by the Dropkick Murphys. It was the theme to the movie The Departed.

What are your ambitions as a boxer? After this fight, Iíd like either a Celtic or Irish title fight. Whatever comes along, Iíll fight for. I have a dream in my heart to be world champion. Iíve sparred with so many and always held my own, never felt out of place.

How do you relax? I like to spend time with my boy, bring him down the park. Thereís not a shop weíll pass without him getting ice cream but heís a good kid. I like to play the pool and snooker on Sunday, my day off. Iím not bad. I also like a spot of poker but Iím trying to give up the gambling!

Football team: Iím not really into it. I played the Gaelic sports at school.

Read: Not much, just the boxing magazines.

Music: Iím easy, listen to all types. Iíve loads on my iPod.

Films/TV: I like the action packed films; Scarface, Gladiator, Shawshank Redemption. On the box, I like the quizzes; Deal or No Deal, The Weakest Link, The Chase.

Aspiration in life: Just that my memory lives on. To be remembered for good things, in and out of the ring.

Motto: Train Hard. Fight Easy.

Cleverly v Krasniqi is live and exlcusive on Saturday 28th April on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546).† Join at

BoxNation is the first dedicated subscription boxing TV channel in the UK to bring together the biggest names in amateur, domestic and international boxing with an unbeatable schedule of matches from across the globe.

For just £10 per month BoxNation offers unbeatable value for money for all fight fans. To subscribe to BoxNation simply go to and hit the ďSubscribe NowĒ button and choose your subscription package. Simple!


KNOCKOUT artist Lucas ĎBig Daddyí Browne is threatening to run British boxingís top heavyweights out of town.

The unbeaten Australian heavyweight champion who has knocked out ten of his 11 victims is teaming up with Hatton Promotions, and boxes on their card at Oldham Sports Centre on Saturday April 21.

Browne, 32, tackles Melton Mowbrayís Paul Butlin over six rounds on the bill topped by Anthony Crollaís British lightweight title defence against Derry Mathews.

Hatton Promotions CEO Ricky Hatton contacted Browneís team after his recent stoppage of Colin Wilson to win the Aussie crown.

Browne said: ďThat fight for the Australian title really made people sit up and take notice

ďI feel like Iíve only just begun to realise my potential and Iím improving all the time. The best is definitely yet to come .

ďIíve left no stone unturned in my preparation for this fight.† I have been sparring with Pieter Cronje, Mark De Mori and Grant Horwood.

ďI realise that this next fight is easily the biggest of my career and I intend to make a statement. Iím hoping that any Aussie fight fans in northern England will come and support me.

ďOf course, I intend on winning over some new fans while Iím there too. I think the English fans will enjoy my style.Ē

Other Contests: Jon Lewis Dickinson v Matty Askin† (10x3 cruiserweight), Stephen Foster Jr v Selected Opponent (6x3 super-featherweight), Jazza Dickins v Yuri Voronin (6x3 super-bantamweight),† Lucas Brown v Paul Butlin (6 rounds heavyweight), Adam Little v Chris Jenkinson (6x3 welterweight), Tommy Stubbs v Selected Opponent (4x3 bantamweight), Ryan Doyle v Selected Opponent (4x3 featherweight).

Boxing starts at 6.15pm and tickets are on sale. They are priced at £35 general admission, £55 floor seating, £75 ringside and £100 VIP Ringside. You can buy by calling the Hatton Box Office 01925 755 222, Ticketmaster 0844 847 2500, Ticketline 0844 888 9991, any boxer on the bill or online


Bowers Gifford middleweight prospect John Dignum features on the glittering debut of BoxAcademy on Thursday 3rd May at The Troxy, London, live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546).

Dignum, last year's ABA Champion, already has one win under his belt - a points win over Ryan Clark - and takes on the experienced Lee Noble over four rounds.

Boxing writer Glynn Evans talks to Dignum about his background and aspirations in the professional ranks.

Name: John Dignum

Weight: Middleweight

Born: Near Romford

Age: 20, just turned.....on St Patrickís Day

Family background: Iíve a twin brother, Danny, whoís in the (senior English) ABA semis next week at the same weight I won Ďem last year (75KG). Iím elder by eight minutes! Weíve also got one older sister and one younger sister.

Today, I live with my girlfriend Charlotte in Bowers Gifford, over Basildon way in Essex. Weíre expecting our first child on May 9th.

Trade: I work with my dad and uncles doing groundwork and tarmacing. Dad says it helps to keep me strong.

Nickname: Havenít got one yet. ĎBig Digí? That might work!

What age did you become interested in boxing and why? I started around nine. Me and me twin were always rucking each other so Dad took us up the Newham gym where his mate Tony used to go. I get on a bit better with Danny now. Whenever we spar, we just laugh. Heís southpaw too. Weíre the next Klitschkos!

What do you recall of your amateur career? I had my first bout, aged 11. Tommy Baker beat me in my second.

At the Newham, I was coached by Tommy Giles and Jimmy Lavey and I won two schools and two Junior Four Nations titles there. Danny and me made history as the first set of twins to win national schoolboy titles on the same night, me at 40 kilos, Dan at 42. That was probably my amateur highlight.

I briefly went to West Ham ABC for half a season which was a good gym but I just couldnít settle so I went back to Newham. Then, when I started work, it became too far to travel to the Newham so I joined the Brentwood ABC for my final three years. There, coached by Joe Taylor and Allan Bush, I won the Junior ABAs in 2010 and the Senior ABAs in 2011.

I had to box seven times to win the seniors and won Ďem all on points. I beat Frank Buglioni in the semis then James Seddon of Liverpool in the final. Buglioni was a good, tough fight. He was a lot older and far more experienced, on the GB squad in Sheffield.† Beforehand, everybody had me beat but that just drove me on more. Going in I was pretty confident. I had to dig deep and I pulled it off.I can see people building up a rivalry between Buglioni† and me in the pros.

All told, I had 49 amateur bouts and I lost just nine. I boxed five times for England at schools and junior level and won all five. In the amateurs, with England and clubs, I went to Wales, Ireland and Denmark but seemed to get overlooked with the Team GB set-up. Even after winning the ABAS, they never showed much interest which was disappointing as Iíd have got to travel all around the world.

Why did you decide to turn pro when you did? Winning the ABAs was the best thing you can do in the amateurs and, with the 2016 Olympics so far away, turning pro was the right decision.

Tell us about your back up team: Iím managed by Richard Clark who also looks after (unbeaten Southern Area cruiserweight king) Tony Conquest and Iíve done a promotional deal with Frank Warren. I knew he had the BoxNation thing coming up and it would provide good exposure.

Iím coached by (former Southern Area, British and WBU light-welter champion) Jason Rowland who Iíve known since I was a little boy and who worked with me through the ABAs. Heís been there and done it himself and we have a good laugh. He does his job very well. We use a few gyms but mainly the Origin Gym in Rainham.

Whatís your training schedule? Which parts do you most and least enjoy? When Iíve a (fight) date, Iíll train five evenings a week and Iíll also run on the weekends. Iím up at 6.45 and, after a full days graft, Iíll get to the gym about 4.30 then train for two hours.

Iíll begin with a stretch out, do four shadow and two or three nights Iíll spar about six rounds.† If Iím not sparring, Iíll do about six on the pads plus a few body bag with Jason. After a few on the (punch) bags, Iíll do a circuit, a bit of skipping then finish with a couple more shadow to warm down. I might do a few weights at home. I only really started on that for the ABAs.

Straight after the gym Iíll do my running; either five miles or some sprints. Itís not until eight oíclock that Iím able to relax for the night.

I most enjoy sparring Ė practising new shots or moves youíve been taught on the pads - but donít like to do too much of it. I least enjoy burpee jumps in the circuit. Iím just a bit lazy!

Describe your style? What are your best qualities? Iím basically a left handed southpaw counterpuncher. Iím more a boxer than a fighter. I never had too many stoppages in the amateurs. Iíve a sharp jab and Iím a thinker. I try not too get hit too much. I ainít got a flat nose yet.

I got stopped after two standing counts by George Mahoney of the Repton† when I was about 15 or 16 but I came back to beat him the following year and Iíve never been dropped.

What specifically do you need to work on to fully optimise your potential as a fighter? Iíve still got to learn the pro game against different fighters and styles. Thatíll come with time. Iím still to develop my Ďman strengthí but Iím getting by with what Iíve got. I boxed plenty who were older and stronger in the amateurs and beat most of Ďem.

What have you found to be the biggest difference between the pro and amateur codes? The pros is more settled. You donít have to waste as much. In the amateurs youíre always chasing points whereas in the pros you just have to win rounds. Iíve always been fairly settled on my feet anyway so hopefully the pros will suit me.

Who is the best opponent that youíve shared a ring with? Billy Joe Saunders in sparring. Heís mustard! Heís a very sharp boxer plus has that bit of aggression.

All time favourite fighter: Sugar Ray Leonard. He was really classy. Today, I like Lucien Bute and Andre Ward.

All time favourite fight: Sugar Ray Leonard v Marvin Hagler.

Which current match would you most like to see made? Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather wins a lot easier than people think. Heíll be far too clever.

What is your routine on fight day? Iíll get up around half seven, eight, and have cereal and toast for breakfast. Later, Iíll have a bit of pasta and chicken. I have to be doing something. I donít like to sit thinking about the fight all day so Iíll go round my parents or my mates and relax, perhaps watch a bit of tele.† At the arena, I donít like to hang around too long. I just like to get me kit on, have a quick warm upon the pads, then get on with it. Iím more confident than nervous.

Entrance music:† I want to have ĎGood Feelingí by Slow Rider but, last time, I forgot to bring the CD!

What are your ambitions as a boxer? Iím still young so thereís no rush. My ambition at the minute is just to get more experience. After about eight fights, Iíd like to be working up to a Southern Area fight. Iíd love to be British champion and move up from there. Above all, I want to be Number One!

How do you relax? I go the pictures or out for something to eat with Charlotte and I enjoy a bit of carp fishing. Occasionally, Iíll have a kick about with my mates over the park.

Football team: I say West Ham but I donít take too much interest. Itís just a local and family thing.

Read: The only think I ever really read is Boxing News.

Music: A bit of Ríní B

Films/TV: I love the Rocky films. Rocky IV with Ivan Drago is my favourite. I also really liked Shawshank Redemption. On the tele. I love BoxNation, especially Bunceyís Boxing Hour. Iíve always got BoxNation on and my girlfriend gets the hump!

Aspiration in life: Just for people to say he was a nice guy; an all round good person.

Motto: Winners never quit. Quitters never win!†††††

The debut of BoxAcademy will be broadcast live on BoxNation, the UKís home of televised boxing, available on Sky channel 456 and Virgin channel 546.

Tickets for BoxAcademy on 3rd May at The Troxy are priced at £35 and £50 and are available from the Queensberry Promotions Box Office on 01992 550 888 or


Southampton middleweight Tony Hill believes he can pull off a stunning upset against Billy Joe Saunders at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 28th April.

Hill challenges for Saunders' Southern Area title on the undercard of Nathan Cleverly's WBO World Light-Heavyweight title defence against Robin Krasniqi, live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546).

The 25-year-old will also be looking to take the Hatfield star's twelve fight unbeaten record.

Heavy-hitter Hill has recorded four stoppages inside two rounds out of eight wins and in his last fight he took the new European champion Kerry Hope the distance.

He believes he's fought at a better level than Olympian Saunders and this will be his key to victory.

"I'm good, fit, strong and ready to take on Saunders and beat him at the Royal Albert Hall," said Hill.

"I was in training for a fight against Liam Cameron, but he pulled out so I've been fit and ready since then,"

"Saunders hasn't fought anyone yet who is at my level and I've beaten better opponents than he's faced,"

"I'll take the fight as it comes and if it goes the distance then I'm ready for it, but if the knockout comes earlier that would be great,"

The equally hard-hitting Saunders, who has stopped eight out of twelve opponents with all eight coming inside two rounds, is relishing his showdown with Hill.

"I'm happy that Hill is confident in his abilities and he's prepared to back up his words," said Saunders.

"The only fighter that he's faced that's any good is Kerry Hope and he got well beat by him and I know for a fact that I would destroy Hope,"

"There is no way in a million years that Hill is going to beat me.† I'm keeping hold of this title then I'm moving up to the English, British and then the European title

"I don't expect Hill to last the distance with me, I can keep punching for twelve rounds, but I don't reckon he'll be there as he'll blow out with the pace I'm going to setting."

Tickets, priced at £40, £50, £75, £150 and £200, are available from:

Ticketmaster: 0844 844 0444

Cleverly v Krasniqi is live and exlcusive on Saturday 28th April on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546).† Join at

BoxNation is the first dedicated subscription boxing TV channel in the UK to bring together the biggest names in amateur, domestic and international boxing with an unbeatable schedule of matches from across the globe.

For just £10 per month BoxNation offers unbeatable value for money for all fight fans. To subscribe to BoxNation simply go to and hit the ďSubscribe NowĒ button and choose your subscription package. Simple!

Tags: British Boxing , Billy Joe Saunders , Dean Byrne

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