Dennis Ceylan (17-0-1, 8 KOs) is days away from the most important fight of his career when he face Ryan Walsh (21-1-1, 10 KOs) for the European Featherweight title on Saturday night at the Arena Nord in Frederikshavn.
The Aarhus-boxer can join an elite group of Danish boxers who have previously held the European title if he can overcome the current British Champion.
For Ceylan, this fight represents the latest struggle in a life, which without boxing, could have gone down a very different path.
“I might not be alive today if I hadn’t started boxing,” reveals the 27 year-old.
‘’I would have been dead or in jail. I grew up in an environment surrounding my drugs and crime, and that could have been my destiny too.’’
Ceylan spent his childhood in various institutions, having been removed from his home when he was just eight years old due to his mother’s drug addictions.
‘’I’ve always lived my life one day at a time, and before boxing, I always thought I would die young,’’ he says. ‘’You could say boxing saved my life. It gave me a new direction in life that I didn’t have before.’’
It was the legendary ‘Rocky’ movies that introduced a young Ceylan to boxing. The story of an underdog who becomes World Champion inspired him to embark on a journey that has led him to this European title challenge.
‘’It was a beautiful story,’’ he recalls. ‘’Rocky fought to make others proud, and I could relate to that.’’
Ceylan started boxing when he was 9 years old, two years later he met his coach Frank Holm, and the pair have worked together ever since.
“Boxing has given Dennis a lot of discipline,’’ says Holm. ‘’It really suited him, and from the very beginning, I could see he had the potential to go far.
‘’It’s been a long journey to reach this point, with a lot of ups and downs on the way, but it will all be worthwhile when he enters the ring on Saturday night.’’
Ceylan says he wants to repay the support shown to him by Holm and to make his family proud by winning the European belt.
‘’I’m not just fighting for myself,’’ says Ceylan. ‘’I’m fighting to repay Frank and to make my family and two children proud.”
He also hopes his journey can help others from troubled backgrounds.
‘’Who knows, if I win, maybe my story can inspire other people who are going through tough times,’’ he says. ”If I can do it, why can’t they?”
Dennis Ceylan’s European title fight with Ryan Walsh tops a blockbuster bill at the Arena Nord in Frederikshavn. Rashid Kassem faces his toughest career test against British boxer Joe Murray, Abdul Khattab takes on Bartlomiej Grafka, Dina Thorslund faces Oksana Romanova, and professional debutant Mikkel Nielsen meets Andrei Dolhozhyieu.
Tickets are available online via www.arenanord.dk or by calling (+45) 96201050. All the action will be shown live on Viaplay Fighting. For more information, please visit http://viaplay.dk/fighting