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In a little over two weeks’ time at the Salle des etoiles, Monte Carlo, Monaco, Irish Welterweight star Dean “Irish Lightning” Byrne (16-2-1) will finally after almost two years, get the break he has been craving.
In front of his biggest ever audience, and on the undercard of the Gennady Golovkin v Osumanu Adama fight, The well-travelled Crumlin fighter will share the ring with rising Russian star Roman Belaev (12-0, 10 KOs) for the vacant WBA intercontinental welterweight title.
Dean, who has had spells in both Australia (where he won the Australian light welterweight title in just his fifth fight) and America, is now fighting out of the East end of London under the tutelage of new trainer Alex Wilkie.
Today during a break from his training camp, Ringnews24 had the pleasure of catching up with the affable Irishman for a few words about his upcoming fight – one in which he firmly believes is his destiny to win.
Ringnews24: Hi Dean, thanks for giving us some time today in what must be a pretty busy schedule for you! Can we start by asking how things are at the moment in the life of Dean Byrne, how are things now that you seem to have settled in the UK?
DB: Yeah everything is going great now, you know? I’m feeling very comfortable in London, I’ve recently become a father for the second time to little Joey so yeah things are good mate, I’ve got two beautiful little boys, a strong family and I’m here to stay.
Ringnews24: That’s good to hear dean! Now I’m not sure many fans will know of this, but you went through a stage, not so long ago, where you were involved in a managerial dispute which kept you out of the ring for almost a year? This happened after the Carson Jones fight – a fight that’s well documented you took on a few days’ notice and also a fight that should have put you into the welterweight mix if not at European level, but at least domestically. How hard was it to stay focused on boxing during this time?
DB: Of Course it was very hard, the case went on for about eight months and during that time I couldn’t fight, it was hard because before it started I was getting myself into a good place with my boxing, and mentally I felt very strong, l was just starting to come up. I had the Carson Jones draw which I should of got the decision in, and I was hoping to go on to bigger fights from there, so to be in the situation where I couldn’t do what I was born to do was very hard. I wanted to build on the momentum of that fight and crack on from there really, but I got held back again and had to sit through a long lay-off.
As a fighter you want to be getting straight back in the ring and keeping busy, every fight is a learning curve which makes you better and stronger so not fighting can affect you. I’m a pretty positive person though and I’ve learnt from the experience now, these things happen. I’ve not fought now for maybe 6 months but neither has my next opponent, I know that will have affected him but I know what to expect through experience and I’m looking forward to Feb 1st.
Ringnews24: What is the difference in you now from the Dean Byrne of maybe 18 months ago? Having spoken to you over the last few years I had a feeling you were starting to lose the passion for the fight game during the hard times you were having, what’s changed Dean and how do you feel about the future?
DB: yeah I did have a bit of a downward spiral where I was maybe losing motivation, losing patience. I didn’t love the situation I was in you see, and at the end of the day I have a family to provide for now I don’t have time to waste. I felt that after leaving America I didn’t have any luck, I left there 15-0 and come here and got my first two losses, but anyone knows that wasn’t me in them fights. The Horta fight I took at 24 hours’ notice and the Holmes fight I genuinely had a lot going on outside the ring that nobody really knew about, I wasn’t settled and didn’t know if I was coming or going if I'm honest but all of that has changed now. I’m happy, I have a good home, great woman and family around me and I’m back loving my boxing, I really believe this is the time for me to wipe out the past and prove I deserve to be in the mix.
My next opponent Roman Belaev actually Beat Horta the guy who handed me my first loss, dropped him twice at the end of the fight so I feel by going out to Monaco, beating this kid and getting this title, it will also show that when I’m 100 % neither of them guys would have beaten me.
Ringnews24: You have a new manager as well as trainer now Dean, tell us how things are going for you in regards to your boxing and training camp?
DB: Yeah I have a new manager Mickey Helliet, he’s a great guy who looks after his fighters and I’m grateful he’s given me this opportunity. My trainer Alex I’ve been with a good few months now, we train down in the Langdon Park Poplar boys club, were soon going to be relocating to a brand new gym across the road but the in the meantime we’ve been training at the boys club and things are going great.
We’ve just got back from a week’s training in Alicante in Spain, where we were doing hard runs in the heat across the sand, I managed to get some good 12 round spars in too but yeah Alex is a fantastic trainer and is bringing the best out in me. Since we’ve been back I’ve been keeping my fitness levels at peak, focusing on speed and movement also getting plenty of good sparing in, I had a good hard 6 rounds today actually with upcoming prospect Gary Corcoran so it’s all coming together.
Ringnews24: You seem very focused Dean, have you any thoughts on where a win in Monaco will take you next?
DB: No I’m just thinking about bringing this belt home first, nothing happens until I get that win I need to be fully focused on the job in hand and the work doesn’t stop until the job is done. This kid is a strong kid, ten knockouts in twelve fights so he’s not to be overlooked I need to be at my best. Maybe after, it will open more doors for me but no, I’ve not really looked past Feb 1st.
Ringnews24: OK Dean, can we thank you for your time today as always a pleasure talking to you, we wish you all the best in your upcoming fight and look forward to catching up with you again in the future.
DB: No problem mate, all the best.
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Follow Dean on twitter: @deanoboxerbyrne