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Former Belfast Profesional Competes in National Elites This Weekend

Dee Sullivan puts the vest back on and climbs back through the amateur ropes this Friday night.

The ‘Vanilla Gorrilla’ follows a path first trekked by European Games medal winner Regan Buckley and returns to the amateurs after a stint in the pros.

The Emerald big man turned pro in 2019 and debut in May of that year at the Ulster Hall, he suffered a surprise knockout defeat at the Feile three months later, before putting that defeat behind him in February of last year.

Sullivan has since been vocal about struggling through the pandemic and a cannabis issue that he said brought him to his knees.

He has since returned to the gym but upon getting himself right he seems to have realized the pro ranks are not for him. It appears Sullivan feels more at home in the more simplistic surrounds of the amateurs. The Belfast fighter says the business aspect of the sport isn’t for him and the amateurs allow him to focus on what he loves most, fighting!

As a result, he is back in the vest, back at the National Stadium this weekend, and back in National Elite Championship action when he takes on Samuel Ilesanni in the 92kg class.

“This has been in the works for a bit now and I am so happy that it’s come through,” Sullivan explained online.

“I will be returning to amateur ranks to get back to just fighting for the love of doing it. I found myself getting caught up with ticket sales promoting myself etc [in the pros]. I box because I love to fight and that’s it. It was never to make money and it was never to win world titles. Boxing helped shape me into the man I am today and through tough life lessons. I managed great achievements, achievements people looking at me when I was young may not have thought I could achieve in sport. I just want to get back to enjoying it again.

“I am very grateful for the opportunities and education that Jamie Conlan gave me and I look forward to getting back in the vest and competing against the best my country and other countries have to offer. I am so overjoyed with this change back to the vest only my coaches will know how much it means to me.”

O’Sullivan is a Senior Ulster title winner and was narrowly edged out in the 2017 Irish Elite semi-finals at super heavyweight by eventual champ Martin Keenan. He underwent a stunning transformation to get down to heavyweight but, after a good showing at the Commonwealth Games, missed out on the Seniors in 2019 before turning over. 

Jonny Stapleton contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: