Dean Gillen looks to further ignite the fire of his unbeaten boxing career
Fire vs Police
It will be Fire v Police once again with Singh, 29-years-old, a Deputy Superintendent of Police in his native Haryana and Gillen, 33-years-old, a long-serving member of the Nottingham Fire and Rescue Service.
The pair due to lock horns on the eve of Halloween could not be any further apart, Singh has competed in three Olympic Games starting with Athens in 2004, followed by Beijing 2008 where he picked up a bronze medal and culminating with the most recent London 2012 event.
He has also competed in the same amount of Commonwealth Games, collecting a medal on each occasion, firstly with a silver in 2006 in Melbourne, a bronze in 2010 in Delhi, and another silver in 2014 in Glasgow.
Trained by Andrew Lowe and managed by Carl Greaves, Gillen’s only background in boxing comes from taking part in the 2013 World Police and Firefighter Games in Belfast, knocking out all three opponents on the way to winning gold.
Unknown to most, the occasion is a biennial athletic event attracting 10,000 applicants, only slightly fewer than the Olympic Games.
Gillen made his pro bow in May this year with a points win over fellow debutant Shaun White and followed that up in September with another points win over Lewis Van Poetsch (4-26) – both bouts scored at 39-37 to the Nottinghamshire man.
Gillen has a height and reach advantage over Singh, being 6ft 1” to the Bihwani boxer’s 6ft and possessing a longer 74” reach to his 72”.
In his native country, Singh is a national treasure and his debut on October 10th in Manchester Arena on the undercard of Terry Flanagan’s and Liam Smith’s respective World title fights, was televised live in India on Sony Six with an estimated 20 million viewers tuning in – arguably the largest ever audience for a boxer’s professional debut.
Singh kicked off his pro career that night with a third round stoppage of Sonny Whiting (2-2) and will now be looking to ruin the record of his first unbeaten pro fighter.
“It’s going to be another win for them or so they think,” began Gillen. “Basically, I got offered a fight on the undercard of an English title fight against a debutant last Monday but their team didn’t fancy it, and then I got offered this on the Wednesday and it took all of two minutes to think about it before I accepted!
“I totally respect what he’s done and achieved but ultimately there’ll be two men with gloves on, of equal weight, boxing to the same rules…I’m not kidding myself or anyone else but that is genuinely the way I am looking at.”
With both of Gillen’s pro fights so far being held on the small hall circuit, there will be the added pressure of the away venue and a further 20 million biased Indian fans for the father of three to contend with on the night.
“I’ve boxed in the World Police and Fire Games at Ulster Hall which was televised around the world and the number of 20 million viewers doesn’t feel real to me,” responded Gillen.
“When I’m in the ring doing a sport that I love and enjoy, you’re just thinking of that and nothing else matters.
“I might be fighting away but I’m no journeyman, I’m not going in to make up numbers, I’m ‘The Fighting Fireman’ and I come to fight and I fight to win; at some point he’ll have to get beat and that could well be his second fight against me.
“I said from the start of my career that every fight is a title fight and this is no different, losing is not an option for me.
“Getting that win would be a massive achievement for me, it’ll be like winning an Olympic medal.
“Plus, I’ve never lost to a Police boxer before!” He quipped.
Singh will be joining the exclusive 30’s club with Gillen, celebrating his birthday one day before the scheduled fight.
Working hard in Manchester
Currently with his head down in serious training in Manchester with coach Lee Beard, he aims to achieve his history-making dream and become India’s first ever World champion boxer.
“I can’t wait for this fight against Gillen, he’s talking the fight and it looks like he will bring me a challenge in my second fight,” said the star of Bollywood film, Fugly.
“From what I have seen of him he looks like a good opponent who will push me and I hope he does because then the better I will fight, I rise to my opponent and it brings the best out in me.
“He’s got an unbeaten record, albeit two fights, and it’s a big motivator for me to claim his first loss, if I can stop him, like against Whiting, then that will be another good win for me.
“Being a fireman, he’ll be used to dealing with fire and coping with heat but this is one fire he won’t be putting out and it will be an entertaining fight for the fans in my first pro fight in the capital.”
(Image courtesy of Tim Rickson)
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