Birmingham’s Lennox Clarke moved up to 12-0 with a fine first round knockout over Nottingham’s Dean Gillen, whose winning record slipped to 3-3.
Topping the bill, Halesowen’s unbeaten super-middleweight needed of all two minutes and 22 seconds to wipe out the game Gillen, 34-years-old from Arnold, in a bout that was scheduled for eight rounds.
Clarke notched up his fifth KO with a devastating right hand that floored Gillen instantaneously, who freely admitted that he didn’t even see the shot coming, with just 38 seconds of the opening round remaining.
The Fighting Fireman, who came into boxing late after winning gold in the 2013 World Police and Fire Games, described his feelings after the abrupt ending, “Flipping gutted! I started off cagey, only threw couple of jabs, instantly he had a longer reach and was faster and sharper.
“I felt comfortable in there and so alert, he threw a couple of right hooks to the body and I went to counter that, but the one time I backed up, he threw that right hand to the head and I was totally gone, and I’ve never experienced that before.
“Must have caught me sweet somewhere because there’s been no pain then or afterwards. I’ve improved a lot in training but didn’t get to show it on the night.”
Gillen shifts between middle and super-middleweight but may reconsider in future due to the size difference in the ring on the night.
“He was massive; it was like getting in the ring with The Incredible Hulk!
“He was bigger than me but, in all honesty, I’m the strongest I’ve been. I’m hitting harder than ever myself, but he just caught me.”
A former white collar boxer, Clarke is already mandatory to the Midlands Area title but could bypass that belt to challenge English champion Jahmaine ‘Smasher’ Smyle (13-4-2), from Leicester, to create a mouth-watering all-Midlands match.
“He [Lennox Clarke] was really respectable afterwards and we had a good chat, and I wish him well for the future,” praised Gillen.
This was ‘Deano’s’ third stoppage loss in all three defeats to unbeaten prospects but plans to continue taking fights away from home.
“Anyone who knows me knows that the loss won’t affect me.
“Straight off the defeat to Vijender Singh, I went up to Manchester to fight Craig Bunn, who was unbeaten in eight and an ABA champion.
“I haven’t got a backwards step in me. I’ve learnt it’s all about levels and I’ll avoid taking fights against guys like Lennox that are over 10 fights unbeaten until I’ve got a bit more experience behind me.
“It’s hard to gauge where you’re at but I’m not going to lose faith. I can’t put any more in than I already am and the experience I’ve gained through every camp will serve me well.”
A father of three working full-time as a Firefighter for Nottingham Fire and Rescue Service, ‘Deano’ is already looking forward to his next challenge, which could come in the form of Billy ‘The Bomb’ Long (4-0), an unbeaten super-middleweight from Essex.
He confirmed, “Well, there was a fight pencilled in with Billy Long in September so that’s next maybe.
“I’m happy fighting away for now, I’ve had some tough fights so I do deserve an easier one at home sometime soon but I’m a realist, so I’ll leave that for my manager Carl Greaves to decide if he can get me out.”