Deano Gillen and Craig Bunn to Collide for British Challenge Strap

Nottingham’s ‘Fighting Fireman’ Dean Gillen (2-1) is set to fight the undefeated Craig Bunn (7-0-1) for the British Challenge super-middleweight title on February 20th in Manchester.


The Hilton Manchester Deansgate – a four-star, 47-story hotel next to the Great Northern shopping centre – will play host to the contest on the eighth weekend of the year.

Bunn, 29-years-old, gets the home advantage over Gillen, 33-years-old, travelling from Nottingham. The 6ft 1” away fighter from Arnold hits the road for the second time in his nine month long pro career.

Gillen said of his forthcoming challenge:

“I think I’m the underdog in pretty much every fight I have! I’m nearly always going to be the older fighter and where age usually benefits from experience, my decision to turn pro off the back of very few amateur bouts, leaves me falling short in experience too, but I gain a lot of knowledge from each fight and I learn from any mistakes.”

Gillen’s previous bout and sole career loss was to India’s middleweight boxing sensation, Vijender Singh (3-0) in November last year in Dublin, live on BoxNation TV.

The middleweight match was billed as the ‘Battle of Badges’ with Gillen, 33-years-old, a long-serving member of the Nottingham Fire and Rescue Service and Singh, 30-years-old, a Deputy Superintendent of Police in his native Haryana.

The Beijing 2008 bronze medallist, also the owner of three Commonwealth Games medals, managed to halt Gillen in the dying seconds of the opening round with a rib-breaking body shot.

Gillen commented on his previous bout:

“I think the experience of fighting away in Dublin while facing an opponent of Vijender’s class will serve me well for this fight. I wasn’t fazed by the occasion in Dublin and my mood won’t be affected in Manchester.”

Also 6ft 1” in height, the home fighter, Bunn, has not fought outside of his home county of Lancashire yet, in his 10-year long professional career.

A former Junior ABA and Four Nations champion, he raced to five fights unbeaten – four wins and one draw – in the first 12 months of his career between 2005 and 2006, until a five-year prison sentence for assault brought the momentum to a sudden halt.

The ex-convict made his return to the ring on a Hatton Promotions bill in March 2012, outpointing and dropping opponent Mark McKenna (0-2-1) over four rounds at light-heavyweight.

The Droylsden boxer enjoyed sparring with Tony Bellew on his return to the scene at the heavier weight class, his last three bouts were fought at 175lbs but will drop down to 168lbs for this next challenge.

Neither boxer has scored a stoppage win yet, so the eight-round bout is expected to go the distance. Deano said:

“Winning this fight will boost my profile and prospects, for sure. It’s a jump up in weight class and levels for me, but I’m ready. I train hard and live clean, so those are things that go in my favour.”

For Bunn, it is a must-win fight in order for his stuttering career to have any chance of success after so many years away from the ring.

Gillen has set himself the target of winning a Central Area title in a career that he admits has limited time available due to his late start. Deano concluded:

“I’ve always wanted to achieve something from professional boxing and although this belt is the lowest achievement available as a pro, it will mean the world to me.”

(Image courtesy of Tim Rickson)

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