From traveller to marine, cage fighter to scrap metal; Dean Riley has led a varied life thus far and is looking forward to his next challenge: life as a professional boxer, writes James Eley.
The 29-year-old welterweight makes his debut on Errol Johnson’s ‘No Love Lost: The War of the Roses’ show on Saturday 11th February at the Plymouth Guildhall and he is confident of being a success in his home town.
“I can’t say how I will do on the day but I feel amazing and the training is going really well,” Riley told uko-boximng.com. “. Chris Adaway and Cristian Hoskin-Gomez are in the gym with me and they have just picked up wins so there is a really good atmosphere and I want to keep that going with a debut victory next month.
“I’m enjoying working with Carl Robson (at his gym in Plympton) and I think I will suit the professional game because I am light and rangy and I think I have some power too after getting a knockout in cage fighting.
“It’s amazing to have my debut at home. It should be a great atmosphere and I just can’t wait for the day now. I am looking at doing four home shows this year and then going away and boxing around but it is great to be able to start off at home. There will be a lot of pressure but I love that, that’s what it’s all about. There is no better feeling coming out in a ring in front of your fans.”
Riley has always had an interest in boxing. After growing up as a traveller, it was almost bred into him but his progress was halted in the marines. The small confines of the submarines hampered his training and meant boxing took a back seat. Now though, Riley runs his own scrap and waste metal business and has the time he needs to train.
“I was a traveller as a kid so I got into boxing through that,” he added. “II did lots of sparring and then I joined the navy when I was 20 for six years. I kept up the amateur boxing there and I won an amateur fight with them but it was difficult to keep up with training because I was based on a submarine and when you go away you aren’t allowed to do additional fitness. I’d come back home for two months but it isn’t enough time to get back in shape before you are off again on the submarine.
“Training is good but it is hard because this is the first Christmas I have had to stay away from beer and food! Last Christmas I was still doing cage fighting and I had just won a belt so obviously we had a massive celebration which is the opposite of this year. That said, training has been brilliant and I feel great going into my first fight.
“I am under no illusion; I am 29 now so I am too old to mess about. I enjoyed cage fighting but the shows down here weren’t that regular and I wanted a new challenge. A win next month will be massive and it will give me the drive and it push me on to better things. I want to go somewhere in boxing, I want to win a British Title.”
‘No Love Lost: War of the Roses’ takes place at Plymouth Guildhall on Saturday, 11th February with the show again sponsored by Grosvenor Casino Plymouth, who host the weigh-in and Aftershow Party.
Des ‘The Destroyer’ Newton tops the bill in an eight round British Challenge titlke fight and is joined by Plymouth welterweight, Jack ‘The Ripper’ Bellingham, Plymouth lightweight, Darren ‘Terminator’ Townley, Plymouth super featherweight, Chris Adaway, who takes on Bideford’s Ben Owen, Exeter welterweight, Faheem Khan, Launceston welterweight, Wes Smith and Launceston bantamweight, Marcus Hodgson.
Tickets for ‘No Love Lost’ are £30 or £50 Ringside and are available by calling: 07958 398 355. Doors open at 6:30pm with boxing commencing at 7:30pm at Plymouth Guildhall, Armada Way, Plymouth, PL1 2AA.