Nottingham’s ‘Fighting Fireman’ Dean Gillen (2-2) will travel to London on April 30th to tackle hot prospect Barney Joe Jones (1-0) at the Copper Box Arena in Hackney, to be televised live and exclusively on BoxNation TV.
The fight will take place on the Queensberry Promotions show that has seen both headliners in WBO World middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders and Ovill McKenzie withdraw with injuries from their respective title fights.
Gillen, a long-serving member of the Nottingham Fire and Rescue Service, will head to the capital for the first time in his pro career, winning his first two bouts on points in his home county before hitting the road twice to face Indian boxing sensation, Vijender Singh in Dublin last November, and then February this year saw a failed attempt at claiming the vacant British Challenge super-middleweight belt against Droylsden’s undefeated prospect, Craig Bunn.
Following such big fights against a former Olympian and an unbeaten prospect, Gillen is undaunted by this latest challenge, the 33-year-old explained, “Vijender was a big fight and Craig Bunn was unbeaten in eight fights so this is a step down for me.
“I used to look the opponents up and research them a little bit but I try not to do that anymore. I’m just going to get in there and play to my strengths.”
Managed by Carl Greaves, ‘Deano’ will take on the unbeaten 24-year-old super-middleweight from Enfield who share a similarity in that both of their previous wins came against the same opponent in Lewis van Poetsch.
The Londoner kicked off his career in the paid ranks with a shutout points win over the journeyman at the Prince Regent Hotel in Chigwell, a part of the Longshots Sports’ ‘Essex Boys 2’ show.
That night, Jones made the transition to the pro game seamlessly with the landslide victory after previously reaching four fights unbeaten on the popular unlicensed circuit in Essex.
Deano, trained by Andrew Lowe, first turned over with Greaves after winning gold in the World Police and Fire Games 2013, which is a biennial athletic event attracting 10,000 applicants from the world’s police and fire services, only slightly fewer entrants than the Olympic Games.
The firefighter knocked out all of his opponents – Canadian, Dutch and Spanish – to win the gold medal in Belfast.
Gillen is still adapting to life on the road yet enjoying the learning curve that comes with taking on unbeaten prospects, often at short notice. Originally, 6ft 1” Gillen was slated to face unbeaten Billy Long on the same show before the switch to Jones was made just days ahead of fight night.
He said, “Unfortunately, I’ve lost my last two fights but they have been against top prospects. I always said I would never turn down a fight or opportunity and I’m not about to change that and I will improve with each fight.”
Gillen positively concluded, “I’m just like a boxing fan living the dream! For me, it’s all about the experiences. Another big box I want to tick is to fight at York Hall but this is a bigger event first.
“There’s loads of fighters in the gym with me that are Area champions but have never fought on the big shows that I am fighting on!”
The action-packed event will feature four major title fights, headlined by undefeated heavyweight Hughie Fury (19-0), 21-years-old, as he tackles Fred Kassi (18-4-1) for the vacant WBO International heavyweight title in his 20th contest.
British featherweight champion Ryan Walsh (20-1-1) will be defending his title against James Tennyson (16-1).
The Cromer battler, Walsh makes the second defence of his Lonsdale belt against his red-hot mandatory challenger from Belfast, Tennyson.
Twin brother Liam Walsh (19-0) defends his British super-featherweight title against challenger Troy James (18-2-1).
Someone’s ‘0’ has got to go in the tantalising Commonwealth super-flyweight title clash between Anthony Nelson (11-0) and Jamie Conlan (15-0).
A top undercard highlights some of the best up-and-coming talent in the country starting with Harrow Weald super-featherweight Mitchell Smith (12-1) as he makes his return to the ring; all-action Erith super-bantamweight Lewis Pettitt (18-2) continues on his comeback; exciting Chingford super-featherweight Boy Jones Jnr. (7-0-1) is back, Indian middleweight superstar Vijender Singh (4-0) features; hugely popular Chelmsford super-middleweight Billy Long (4-0); West Ham lads super-welterweight Sammy McNess (4-0) and super-lightweight Ben Smith continue in their careers, as does hard-hitting Sidcup super-featherweight D.P Carr (3-0). Debutants Tony Bange and Sanjeev Sahota make their pro bow in respective bouts.
BoxNation, will televise live and exclusive on Sky 437/HD 490, Virgin 546, TalkTalk 415 and Freeview 255 or watch online at BoxNation and via iPhone, iPad or Android and Amazon devices.
Tickets priced at £30, £40, £60, £80, £100, £150, £200 are available from See Tickets on 08712307148 and www.seetickets.com, Eventim 08442491000and www.eventim.co.uk, Ticketmaster 08448440444 and www.ticketmaster.co.uk
Follow Dean Gillen on Twitter @TeamDeanoPro