All round sporting talent Kaan Hawes predicts that his superior athleticism will be the key to him winning Ultimate Boxxer III when eight highly rated middleweight gladiators convene at The Indigo at The O2 on Friday 10th May, exclusively live on BT Sport.
In cricketing whites, the hard-hitting opening batsman/wicketkeeper captained the first XI at Witham Cricket Club during the summer, whilst during winter months, he patrolled the football pitch as a combative central midfielder for Witham Town FC.
‘Though I wasn’t really a lairy kid, I had a few fights on the football pitch cos I was ultra-competitive, ‘win at all costs,’’ says 32 year old Kaan who is undefeated in six pro starts since debuting in July 2017.
‘Olly Murs was a Sunday League team mate and we became close friends because we were both huge Man United fans who’d regularly travel up to Old Trafford in my missus banged out Fiesta. Olly could never fight but he weren’t a bad footballer and he’s really into his boxing and UFC. He’s a regular at all my fights.’
Action man Hawes, a plumber by trade, concedes his induction into the Noble Art came about by accident.
He explains: ‘As a kid, I’d always loved watching boxers like Naseem Hamed and Ricky Hatton on the tele. Then, when I was 25, I had a bad knee injury playing football. Initially, I went to the boxing gym for a bit of extra fitness and just never stopped going. I’d always enjoyed my fitness and the gym, anyway.’
The innate speed, strength and agility that had served him well in other sports brought immediate success inside the prizering.
‘I had six or seven unlicensed and white-collar fights and won them all bar one which didn’t have a decision,’ recalls the Essex boy who was born in Chelmsford but now lives in Witham with his wife and step son.
‘Then I had 16 or 17 amateur bouts out of the Hoddesdon club that produced Billy Joe Saunders. I won about a dozen, boxed in the National Novices, won the BoxCup in Denmark and lost in the final of the Haringey Cup.’
This natural athlete has made rapid progress since shedding his singlet and linking with coach Billy ‘The Bomb’ Long – a former undefeated pro super-middle – at the Box2Burn facility two years ago.
‘I was already 31 but, from the off, Billy and me decided to just take it one step at a time. Our motto is: ‘We’re in it for a good time, not a long time,’ claims Kaan who is yet to meet with defeat in six starts, all at the close to home Brentwood Centre.
‘First goal was to secure a pro licence, now it’s any pro title. I’m certainly not in this for the money. I really love the sport and aim to get everything I can, for as long as I can do this. I want to make my family and fans proud.’
He knows he will be confronted by a stiff field for the winner’s large share of the £50,000 jackpot at The Indigo but refuses to be deterred.
‘All the other boys are very good. They’ve only got a handful of losses between them so they’ll all arrive confident,’ acknowledges the Carl Greaves managed hopeful.
‘We all need a bit of luck on the night to avoid cuts and injuries but I’d not have entered if I didn’t think I could win it, providing I perform at my best.
‘Others question why I’ve put my unbeaten record at risk but I prefer to view it as a great opportunity that, if I’m successful, can increase my profile and lead to TV fights; all the stuff you train so hard for.
And turbo-charged Hawes believes that the high-energy three round format is tailor made for his skill-set.
He concludes: ‘There’s some very good technicians in the tournament and I doubt I’m going to be able to outbox them. But though some of the lads have been involved in far longer fights, I think that might prove detrimental to them. I’m more used to short, fast-paced explosive fights.
‘I’m a come forward pressure fighter who guarantees non-stop action. I’ll bring it all. I’ll be taking a lot of fans because my fights are always exciting. I’ve never been in a dull fight.’
Ultimate Boxxer III features Tey Lynn-Jones, Derrick Osaze, Kieron Conway, Grant Dennis, Sean Phillips, Josh Groombridge, Kaan Hawes and Joe Hurn as they battle it out to become Ultimate Boxxer on Friday 10th May at The Indigo at The O2, exclusively live on BT Sport.
An action packed undercard will see the return of highly-rated and undefeated Light-Heavyweight talent and UB II winner Shakan Pitters and unbeaten super-middleweight prospect Idris Virgo who is out to prove to critics he is more than just a reality star.
£30 Balcony Standing (General Admission)
£35 Floor Standing (General Admission)
£55 Upper Balcony Seats
£70 Outer Ringside
£100 Inner Ringside
£200 Kings Row (Padded Balcony seats, separate bar, VIP entrance)