Whilst in Men’s Traditional shoe shop, Fred introduced us to one of his friends who happened to walk through the door, “you should talk to Dean” Fred said, “He’s in the boxing game.”
Originally from Tipton in the Black Country, Dean moved to London in October 1988 when he was 22. He has always lived within a square mile of the Elephant and Castle. He is a matchmaker for Frank Warren Promotions where his job is to find the right opponents for their stable of boxers to fight. The most important thing is to get a win, but it is also about stepping the boxer up each time out until one day they are ready for what all boxers dream of, a shot at the world title.
Dean started out as a trainer learning his trade by watching one of Britain’s finest Jimmy Tibbs at The Royal Oak in Canning Town. ‘I’ve worked with Jimmy Tibbs for about 25 years now and it’s been like having a private Oxford University education you know, and I feel very lucky and very blessed that I’ve had that.’ The Royal Oak was one of many boxing gyms that used to stand above a pub, because they often had a large vacant room fit for a ring. Dean goes on to list, ‘The Butchers Arms and The Craven Arms in Battersea, The Thomas A Beckitt, The Henry Cooper, The Ring at Blackfriars, The Wellington at High Gate and all of those have gone now, which is a terrible shame. There is only one gym left above the bar and that’s in The Lord Clyde at Deptford.’
From late 88 Dean managed the world famous Thomas A Beckitt gym in Canning Town, where over the years over a hundred World Champions trained. You can imagine the scene in the smoke oaked and brass tapped bars, hands that swallowed the glasses and laughs that drowned out the bell. ‘Sunday lunch in The Beckitt was fantastic because everybody would be training on the Sunday morning, all the old timers would be there and everyone would have a drink Sunday lunch time.’
Dean has travelled all over the world and back to the castle. He worked with Nigel Benn for 7 World Title fights and was head of boxing at Lennox Lewis’s company Lion Promotions. He went to Memphis with Lewis when he fought Mike Tyson and was in the corner when Joe Calzaghe beat Bernard Hopkins in Vegas. Out of all, his favourite fight venue is a place that is steeped in boxing history, The York Hall in Bethnal Green. Future champions have gone to work there for many years and with James Degale and Frankie Gavin on the books at Frank Warren these are exciting times for British boxing. As for our first LAW BOY Billy Morgan who is trained by Jimmy Tibbs and his son Mark, Dean says, ‘I think he will be really special.’ With Dean and Jimmy on his side, an obvious raw talent and brooding determination he’s got every chance to achieve his dreams. We will watch with lion hearts full of hope every step of the courageous way.
LAW ringside at Frankie Gavin’s fight with Michael Lomax. The York Hall was packed to the rafters, ‘Funtime’ Frankie was ferocious and he stopped Lomax in the 7th round. The victory moves him closer to a shot at the British title. 19-02-11