News April 2019

'Irish Lightning' Dean Byrne is chasing the dream in Monte Carlo


By @shaun_brown

Itís not exactly Monte Carlo or bust for Dean Byrne (17-2-1, 6 KOs) tomorrow night. The likeable Dubliner takes on the unbeaten Russian, Roman Belaev (12-0, 10 KOs) for the WBA Inter-Continental title which will be screened live on Boxnation.

Byrne hasnít been dealt the kindest hand over the years. Despite plying a portion of his trade at the renowned Wildcard Gym in Los Angeles, he has seen his career stutter since returning to the UK. Now under the wing of new manager, Mickey Helliet, 2014 could be the year of ĎIrish Lightningí.

On the eve of his fight, which is part of an undercard headlined by Gennady Golovkinís latest WBA world middleweight title defence against Osumanu Adama, Byrne talked to Livefight about the task ahead, a frustrating 2013 and getting his photo taken with ĎGGGí!

LF: Youíve got Roman Belaev on Saturday night. What do you know of him and what kind of fight are you expecting?

DB: Iím expecting a really hard, tough fight. Iíve seen him a bit but itís only been little clips. He just walks his opponents down, heís busy and heís a big puncher. Weíve been training hard, had a hard camp and prepared for a tough fight mentally and physically and on the night itís going to prove that.

LF: Have you been able to get in good sparring for something that is an unknown quantity?

DB: Iíve had a lot of sparring. I started in the Peacock Gym and did some hard rounds there with Ahmet Patterson whoís a tough, undefeated fighter and thatís what weíre up against in Belaev. Thatís what we were looking to get and build confidence from by sparring undefeated fighters. I went to Alicante and sparred with a Spanish champion out there and a couple other Spanish guys and some rounds with Frankie Monkhouse and Danny Connor. Iíve been getting four or five guys in fresh and doing rounds with them on the day. And Iíve been doing it a good pace, Iíve done well in this camp. My confidence will grow obviously. Iíve fought undefeated fighters before so that doesnít affect me. I know mentally weíve prepared well for this fight. Iím looking to put it all together on Saturday night.

LF: Where does a win in this fight put you?

DB: I donít know how the ratings work but Iím sure itíll boost me up in the top 15 Iíd imagine. Itís a world recognised title and my managerís told me a couple times that after this we could get a world title fight. This is a big, big fight. A major fight for me. Iím just looking to forward to proving to everyone that is my time and itíll be my time to shine.

LF: One fight last year, why?

DB: Unfortunately I had a management issue and I was getting that sorted out which took a long time. And with the Carson Jones fight I thought that was the making of me but I couldnít get any momentum after it because I was in this management dispute which was hard because it had to be dealt with. I went by the book, got that sorted out and got a new manager in Mickey Helliet he got me a fight with an undefeated kid in my last fight just a month after I got out of a contract and I was into a new one. Since then I had this fight come up. I was due to fight again, but I was offered this fight but I was changing camps and trainers with Alec Wilkie who Iíve been with the last 4-5 months. Everythingís been going sweet, weíre starting to gel, we went to Alicante and this will be our first fight together and it certainly wonít be our last. This is the start of a new journey for me and Iím looking forward to it.

LF: Before you got offered the Belaev fight what were the aims for 2014?

DB: I was rated in the top ten by the EBU so I think a big fight was going to come along but to be honest I just wanted to fight. When youíre out the ring itís hard so itís good to get back and grow as a fighter with momentum and you learn from each fight. I just wanted to be busy thatís why I signed with Mickey because he keeps his fighters busy every month. And heís given me a great opportunity here which Iíll grab with both hands and hopefully we win this title and stay busy in 2014 and open the door for some bigger fights. First thingís first, Iím in the ring with a tough customer on Saturday. One of my toughest to date if not the toughest so far of my career. Itís a big chance for me to turn my career around and make a statement.

LF: Youíve only had 20 fights and despite being 30 soon youíll still feel fresh physically?

DB: Age is just a number. I havenít had that many fights and I havenít had a concession of tough fights. I had the Carson Jones then an eight-month lay-off then another. I havenít really had tough wars. Thereís no wear and tear on me. Iíve kept fit. I donít drink. I live for boxing, this is my job until I hang them up. I want to live clean and please god and live the dream of being a world champion.

LF: The fact that youíve only had 20 fights do you feel as though youíve been avoided?

DB: Yeah of course. Thatís the thing about this title. When I get the title itís going to be hard to avoid a man who has a belt. And thatís whatís great about this, Iíll have a belt. People want to fight because itís worth fighting you for a title. Today nobody risks their record, itís a big step up for Belaev and heís a great fighter so fair play to him. Iím gonna beat Belaev and they believe what they believe. That fight I lost against Frank Horta I think had a big part to play in me getting this fight. In my head, physically and mentally I havenít lost because in that fight and my other loss (against Terry Holmes) I wasnít prepared properly. In my mind until someone beats me and I lost after giving it everything and I can say the better man won then Iím still undefeated. Iím gonna get my justification, just rewards for them losses. Carson Jones was 1/8 to beat me, thatís a serious price. I didnít know about that. That fight was taken at three days notice and thereís still more from me to come and youíll see the best of me on Saturday because Iím ready.

LF: Youíve fought all around the world, howís your experience been so far in Monte Carlo?

DB: Iím globetrotting around the world. Iíve done America, Iíve done Australia, Iíve done England and Iím here in Monte Carlo. Itís a beautiful place, Iíve met Gennady Golovkin. Weíre in the land of rich and famous. I donít think I could afford the houses on my purse (laughs). Iím sure GGG could! Itís a step in the right direction, Iím on the same card as him. Itís great to be a part of this. And if I stick to what I do everything should be alright on the night and if they want me to come back and fight here then I will do because itís a beautiful country full of nice people.

LF: Being in the land of rich and famous are there any special plans for after the fight?

DB: I was just happy at the press conference because Belaev wasnít there so I got a
picture with Golovkin! I asked him for a face-off too which I got. I shook his hand, heís a humble guy and a true champion. A little bit of that can rub off on you. He works hard, remains humble and thatís whatís good about him. Heís a bit of an inspiration. The main job on the night is to do what Iíve been after all my life, get that belt and hear the words ĎAnd the newí thatís worth more than any party, thatís the best party I could be at.

LF: What kind of fight should the Boxnation viewers expect and what Dean Byrne should
they expect?

DB: Theyíve seen me in the past. Iíve been on BN before. I came back from America, I was 14-0 and there was a lot pressure on me. I won an eight rounder. I didnít look good, I was trying too hard. Coming from the Wildcard, Freddie Roach taught me to be a world champion so I had a lot of weight on my shoulders and expectation. Had two losses since then, both been on Boxnation. This is a new me, a trained me, Iím mentally and physically ready Iím bang on the weight and Iím going to give everything in every minute of every round. Expect an exciting fight. Belaev is going to be strong and do what he does by trying to get rid of me. Iím gonna be there and pushing him back and making him look ordinary. Iíll be shocking the doubters. For all them doubters I want to thank them Iíve trained hard for this one just to prove them wrong.

Iíd like to say one final thing: Iíd just like to thank all those people on Twitter, the believers. Iíd like to thank everybody that sent me messages @deanoboxerbyrne that really pushes me on. I really appreciate all the good luck messages, Iíd just like to thank them all.

Watch the action live and exclusive on BoxNation, the Channel of Champions (Sky Ch.437/Virgin Ch.546) from 5pm. Join at

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