Fighting frustration: Dean’s Byrne-ing ambitions

Unbeaten light-welterweight talent Dean Byrne is desperate to end a frustrating lack of action and the Crumlin native is eyeing an October return to the ring. Some high-class sparring with the cream of the domestic scene, along with Gary Hyde’s Georgian talent Levan Ghvamichava, is helping to keep the tools relatively sharp, but Dean sees gym sessions as no substitute for the real thing.

“You can have all the sparring in the world but you need a fight at the end of it,” he said. “It is a little bit frustrating but I took a rest after some hard sparring with Kevin Mitchell and I didn’t have that goal to aim for; that fight to finish off the hard weeks of training. Levan is really good and I could see him going on to be a strong fighter and one to watch out for. I want an eight-rounder to remove any ring rust and then get in for a title.”

Byrne is now based in Anthony Farnell’s Manchester gym and mixes with the likes of Matthew Hall, Ronnie Heffron and Frankie Gavin on a regular basis. He views Gavin as a sound technical boxer who possesses the ability to go far.

“The sparring with Frankie is very good,” he admitted. “Gavin’s a good up-and-coming prospect but I have my own dream and I want to be champion of the world, just like he does, so we push each other along. I was over in America for three years and it brought me on mentally and physically. After training with Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan and the best in the world you feel mentally prepared. You could turn up in the gym one day and Freddie Roach says who you are sparring and you might not even know who the guy is and next thing you find out he’s a world champion. Mexicans, Russians and all other nationalities go to train in the Wild Card and you certainly learn your trade there.”

Three years in the Wild Card gym and rubbing shoulders with the boxing elite on a daily basis will improve any fighter. Dean had fellow Irish prospect Jamie Kavanagh for company, but the need to move closer to home soon eclipsed any Stateside ambitions and Byrne relocated to England to pursue his dream under the Frank Warren banner.

“When I was training at the Wild Card I was just waking up every day and living boxing but I was missing my son. I’m a family man and I also wanted to be with the best promoter in the business so I signed with Frank, but I haven’t had the best of luck over the past eight months. Hopefully I can get fighting again and change that run. I’ve had a few weeks off since the July 9 fight was cancelled and I’ve just been spending time with my family. I’ve been told that I won’t get back out until October so I’m enjoying some good, competitive sparring at the moment with Levan. I’m not as fit as I should be but we’re learning off each other and it’s good experience for both of us.”

Byrne also offered insight into why former trainer Freddie Roach is widely recognised as one of the best coaches in the world and has so many top fighters clamouring for his services.

“Freddie Roach is the best trainer in the world,” affirmed ‘Irish Lightning’, “but he wouldn’t be that without really good fighters. He was a boxer himself, not a top fighter, but a tough guy who never reached that elite level. He knew though what it took to get to the top, learned from old-school trainers and took his knowledge into life as a trainer. He always has a good game plan for every opponent, looks at things from different angles and checks out that the opponent is right. I haven’t said that I wouldn’t go back to the Wild Card, me and Freddie parted on good terms and who knows when I win a world title or get into the pound-for-pound rankings I might want the master back in my corner. Right now I’m just concentrating on my next fight.”

The exact date of that fight has yet to be decided, although the new season gets under way shortly and the 26-year-old, who now holds a 14-0 (6 KOs) record, is eager to muscle on to the big fight undercards and add some more silverware to his trophy cabinet.

“This coming season I’d like to put a belt around my waist and be called a champion. In Australia I won belts and I’ve been a pro since 2006 so just I want to step it up and fight anybody. I’ve fought in Vegas, fought Mexicans and sparred with the best in the world so I’m ready to step up and win belts.

“Training is going well with Anthony Farnell and I’m settled. Farnell’s a nice guy, he’s good on the pads and great for getting you into shape. He’s a motivator and I’m enjoying it but we haven’t had a fight together yet so I can’t really say what happens then. It’s different sparring and being in an actual fight but I’ve been learning a lot and I’m taking Arnie’s advice and using it in my sparring, so hopefully I can implement those things into my next fight.”

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