Ultimate Boxxer III – Conway, Dennis, Phillips & Tey-Lynn Jones Q & A

Northampton’s neat boxing Kieron Conway may be the early bookies’ favourite to lift the Ultimate Boxxer III trophy when eight top middleweight hopefuls convene at The Indigo at The O2 on Friday 10th May, but the cobbler hopeful endured his toughest battle simply to get started in the sport!

‘I’d been a big fan since getting up in the middle of the night to watch the big Ricky Hatton fights from America. But though my friend at primary school boxed, me dad, who’d boxed amateur, never allowed me to join him, said I ‘was too soft to be a boxer!’ disclosed ‘Too Class’ who, at 22, is the youngest entrant.

‘At school, I was a popular kid, never a scrapper but good at other sports. One day, dad’s old coach visited to buy some dogs and somehow convinced the old man to let me have a go.

‘I had the first of my 84 amateur bouts (69 wins) for the Kings Heath club, aged 12. It helped that I’d done a bit of karate (black belt by 11) because I did a lot of press-ups and there were transferable explosive movements.

‘I was a little skinny kid, there really wasn’t too much to me, and I’d win one, lose one. But after the age of 16, only Carl Fail in the Senior ABAs beat me, over a period spanning three years. I won eight Midland titles, two Haringey Cup gold medals and also boxed for England a handful of times.’

Since slinging his singlet in December 2017, the MTK Global starlet has steamed to 10 consecutive wins – predominantly adown at super-welter – conquering the useful Chris Monaghan (one loss in 8), Gino Kanters (one loss in 5) and 26-14 Gabor Gorbics along the way.

‘Today, I don’t work. I put everything into my boxing. The thought of losing makes me feel ill so I train morning, noon and night. I aim to be a superstar!’ claims Conway who, rather ironically, is now coached by Dad James (in tandem with Arthur Daly) at the KH gym.

‘Technically I’m pretty good and my strength is deceiving. I’m sharp and adaptable. I’ve two very different styles and can bring either out at any point of any round.’

Despite his apparent ability and application, classy Kieron has struggled for recognition, based in the boxing backwater of Northampton that also saw another local, Drew Brown, win the inaugural Ultimate Boxxer tournament last year.

‘They enjoy their combat sports here – we’ve one of Europe’s biggest MMA gyms – so it’s strange that more from the town haven’t made it as pros because, trust me, there’s plenty who enjoy a scrap!’ he quips.

‘But I believe that’s about to change, just with the fighters from our gym. Ethan James and Ben Vaughan both represented England at the recent Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas and Ethan won gold. There’s a few others here around national title level. Watch out for us!’

The young gun warns his seven UB competitors to expect an eggy face if they dismiss him lightly.

‘No doubt, the others will underestimate me because of my youth, where I come from, and that I usually box a weight beneath but that would be unwise!’ says the 5ft 11 ½ in stylist.

‘The bookies have got me favourite. I’ve boxed more rounds and I’ve been on bigger stages than the others. I’ve previously experienced boxing on Amir Khan and Kal Yafai undercards in Birmingham, plus a Jordan Gill undercard in Peterborough.

‘Though I’ve acclimatised to eight rounders in the pros, I’m the one with the amateur pedigree. And I’ve been sparring with the England amateur squad for this; everything sharp and pacy.

‘I’ve not seen a lot of the other entrants but I know I’ve boxed at a higher level, beaten guys with winning records and I’ve already been punched back. I’m not sure many of the others have. I’m ready for titles right now but can’t get opportunities. This can push me on.

‘Hopefully, the venue will be packed and plenty of armchair fans will tune in too. In my mindset, I can’t see how any of the others can beat me. I see all three of mine, ending by stoppage wins.’

But irrespective of what transpires between the strands at The Indigo, Conway, eldest of seven, has already converted his earliest critic.

He concludes: ‘Now, when he gets drunk, me dad confesses he’s very proud of me!’

Grant Dennis is a natural born fighting man

Chatham’s Grant Dennis is a natural born fighting man from a long fighting dynasty. Grandad George boxed in the Navy, dad Joe was a useful amateur and junior sibling Jordan is undefeated in four as a pro super-middle.

UB III, sponsored by MansionBet, is exclusively live on BT Sports, BT Sports’ You Tube channel – available to anyone to watch for free – and the dedicated boxing channel BoxNation.

Once Southern Area champ and an English title challenger, father of five Grant concedes he first learnt to ruck long before boxing gloves were first laced on his dukes, aged 15.

‘I was a rough and tumble kid and I’ve always been okay at throwing my fists around,’ says the ‘Go Getter’ who at 35 is the oldest and most seasoned entrant in the Ultimate Boxxer III shootout at Indigo at The O2 on May 10th.

‘Chatham’s a rough old dockyard and you didn’t need to look too far if you fancied a scrap. For a start, I’d never tolerate racial abuse or anyone taking the p*** out of me.

‘Then, when I was about 15 and weighing 104 kilos (16st 5lbs), I bloke flogging videos knocked my door and he convinced me to visit the boxing gym and it all started from there.

‘I once boxed (future British, Commonwealth and European champion) David Price at heavyweight in the Junior ABAs but struggled to get bouts because of my size and had to ease off once I became a father at 17.’

Though granite Grant had already blown out 30 candles when he entered the profession in July 2014, he refused to allow age to constrict his ambitions.

‘Go Getter’ is as much a motto as a nickname,’ declares 5ft 11in Grant who previously produced garage and hip-hop at the ‘Go Getter’ studios.

‘I’ve never regarded age as a barrier and it’s still my intention to get to the very pinnacle. I’ve got great genetics. My dads’s 83 but looks just 60. My prime is now. I’m fitter, stronger, run quicker than I ever have and I’ve a youthful mindset.’

Despite limited amateur breeding, Dennis darted to the Area title in his seventh start, outscoring local southpaw Nicky Jenman – sole conqueror of UB3 rival Tey-Lynn Jones – at the Brighton Metropole.

The solitary stain on his slate came when Watford’s Elliott Matthews (then unbeaten in 20) edged him out over 10 for the vacant English crown 17 months ago.

‘Elliott refused to engage but, after a cagey start, I completely took over and saw it 97-94 my way, as did many others. In my head, my record reads 13-0,’ insists Grant who is coached by Veron Quammie at the Champs Gym in Gillingham.

‘My experience possibly gives me an edge but I prefer to start every fight with a fresh slate. I don’t look back on what I’ve done, just what I intend to do.

‘Even in 10 rounders, I maintain a very high pace so it won’t be hard to drop back down. I’ve always been able to throw what I need, for as long as I’ve needed.’

Last time out, the Joe Elfidh managed hope became only the fourth fighter to halt hardman Harry Matthews – flattening the Tyke for the full count with a single meaty right hand with just 48 seconds on the clock. It was just the second stoppage win of his career.

‘Forget what my record suggests, I know I’m a big puncher. I just prefer to box clever,’ he claims.

‘I consider myself a chameleon. Whatever my opponent is good at, I can take away from them. In this format, guys will try to throw the kitchen sink but that’ll just leave openings. I’m a slickster, a mover, a puncher. I win because my boxing IQ is so much higher than all the other guys.’

Dennis seems unperturbed that he has been drawn first-up against Clacton clatter Joe Hurn, statistically the most dangerous puncher in the field.

‘No one wants to take an open shot but Joe and I both know he’ll not outbox me or out think me so he has to come out swinging and I welcome that,’ he concludes.

‘Victory here will vault me straight into title fights with Liam Williams (reigning British champ) and Felix Cash (Commonwealth king).

‘Fans should keep an eye out for me because I’m the quickest, most explosive……and the prettiest!’

Sean Phillips: “I Want Them All To Underestimate Me. They’ll Get A Big Shock!”

Gritty Gravesend gunslinger Sean Phillips is the youngest entrant in the field when eight middleweights collide for Ultimate Boxxer III glory at The Indigo at The O2 on Friday 10th May, and only Derrick Osaze has boxed fewer pro rounds. However, the undefeated 22 year old Kent clouter claims only the foolish will dismiss him.

UB III, sponsored by MansionBet, is exclusively live on BT Sports, BT Sports’ You Tube channel – available to anyone to watch for free – and the dedicated boxing channel BoxNation.

‘I want them all to underestimate me. They’ll get a big shock! I’m not in this to play about,’ claims ‘The Captain’ who, at 6ft 1in, is the tourney’s joint tallest competitor.

‘Forget my age, my heart will set me apart from all the others. I’ll also be the fittest. I’ve always loved my running – I was training for the London marathon before this opening cropped up – so I can sustain a very high work rate. And I’m aggressive. I guarantee pure excitement.’

The Reigate born redhead has been fine tuning his fighting skills for over a decade now and even passed through the famous Fisher Downside facility in Bermondsey, south London, which previously produced world champions Sid Smith, Terry Downes and Lloyd Honeyghan.

‘When I was 12, my dad took me down the local Nemesis gym because I had too much energy. I later moved to the Fisher but I was a hopeless amateur, to be honest. All that darted in and out just didn’t suit me,’ states Phillips who still triumphed in 15 of his 20 unpaid bouts.

After shedding his singlet in July 2017, the then 20 year old was restricted to a share of the spoils against Wiltshire’s wily Anthony Fox on his paid bow.

However, sharpshooter Sean – who is trained and managed by Martin Bowers at The Peacock Gym in Canning Town, east London – has not conceded a single round in five subsequent starts and will land at Indigo haemorrhaging confidence.

‘I’m not in boxing to turn down good opportunities like this,’ says Phillips who has been drawn against Uttoxeter action man Josh Groombridge in a salivating quarter-final.

‘Groombridge is a decent lad. Like me, he’ll come and have a go and we’ll find out who’s better on the night.

‘There’s some very good fighters on the other side of the draw. I see Osaze meeting Conway in the other semi. Derrick’s very strong whereas Kieron’s a good counter puncher so whoever comes through will be a worthy finalist.

But I’m gonna prove that I can dig deepest, bite hardest on my gumshield. Winning this should lead to titles, Southern Area, English…then I’m on my way.’

Tey-Lynn Jones is fired up for Ultimate Boxxer III

Basildon basher Tey-Lynn Jones is fired up to secure the stardom in the Ultimate Boxxer III prize ring that narrowly eluded him on the football field.

UB III, sponsored by MansionBet, is exclusively live on BT Sports, BT Sports’ You Tube channel – available to anyone to watch for free – and the dedicated boxing channel BoxNation.

As a junior, the 6ft 1in Essex hope was a schoolboy sensation between the goal posts, keeping clean sheets for Chelsea, Charlton and Crystal Palace and rubbing shoulders with some of the nation’s top talents.

‘At Palace I played alongside (Wales international) Johnny Williams whilst at Chelsea, our youth manager was Brendan Rogers and the team included (Brentford FC’s) Josh McEachran and (European 200m sprint champion) Adam Gemili,’ says the 24 year old former Southern Area middleweight champion who hopes to sizzle in Ultimate Boxxer III at Indigo at The O2 on May 10th.

‘I want to be well known, recognised, invited to stuff. This can help secure a deposit on a house and catapult me to a bigger platform. I know I’ve the talent to reach British title level.’

After his footballing dreams were extinguished at 17, the one they call ‘Tey-sty’ started to shed surplus energy at the nearby Tilbury amateur boxing club. One thing led to another and he was soon a decorated amateur – scooping the Celtic Cup over in Ireland – then undefeated in a fistful of rowdy tear-ups on the Essex unlicensed circuit.

‘As a kid, I was quite chilled, a social butterfly so people are very surprised when they hear that I’m doing well at the boxing,’ disclosed Jones who is coached by his father Jason at the Venue Gym in Grays and managed by MTK Global.

Since debuting as a pro in March 2016, TLJ has stormed to 11 wins in 12 starts, accelerating his ring education as a spar hand to a number of world class talents in the capital’s fight factories.

‘Word got around the gyms that I can handle myself and top trainers started requesting me for their guys,’ he explains.

‘They’ve all got their own different qualities. Billy Joe Saunders has unreal speed, (James) DeGale was very unorthodox, George Groves had a great jab, Andy Lee was quality all-round. (Chris) Eubank Jr just tries to put it on ya!’

Of the eight UB3 entrants, Tey-Lynn stands as the joint tallest and only fellow Area champ Grant Dennis has boxed more pro rounds. Understandably, he is optimistic of emerging victorious.

‘I don’t think any of the lads are in this to make up the numbers or take a loss,’ says Jones who has been drawn against ‘Punching Preacher’ Derrick Osaze in the Quarter-Final.

‘Kaan (Hawes) and I have probably sparred a hundred rounds and have become good friends but we’ll both be keen to prove we’re the top one in our county. I’ve already shifted five grands’ worth of tickets.

‘The bookies have Kieron Conway as favourite but I feel I’ve the style to seriously unsettle him, take him out of his comfort zone. You simply won’t have time to pick opponents off. If you want to win, you’ll not be able to run. I doubt my height will be much of an advantage in this format.

‘But I like to be aggressive, sometimes overly so. I guarantee that I’ll make the fight happen. I always preferred the pace of the shorter amateur fights. My fitness allows me to go flat out, ferocious, for all three minutes of all three rounds. That’s my natural style; After fans have seen me once, they’ll be frothing to watch me again.

‘I win this because I want it most, I’ve got the biggest heart. I’ll not stop throwing until I’ve got that golden robe around my shoulders.’

Ultimate Boxxer III is on Friday 10th May at The Indigo at The O2 and starts off with the exciting showdowns:

Quarter-Final 1: Kaan Hawes v Kieron Conway
Quarter-Final 2: Tey Lynn Jones v Derrick Osaze
Quarter-Final 3: Sean Philips v Josh Groombridge
Quarter-Final 4: Joe Hurn v Grant Dennis

An action packed undercard will see the return of the highly-rated and undefeated Light-Heavyweight talent and UB II winner Shakan Pitters and unbeaten super-middleweight prospect Idris Virgo who is out to prove to critics he is more than just a reality star.

Remaining tickets are available from ticketmaster.co.uk AXS.com and ultimateboxxer.com priced at:

£30 Balcony Standing (General Admission)
£35 Floor Standing (General Admission)
£55 Upper Balcony Seats
£70 Outer Ringside
£100 Inner Ringside
£200 Kings Row (Padded Balcony seats, separate bar, VIP entrance)

For all VIP & Corporate Packages please contact www.sportandmusic.co.uk

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