Dennis Ceylan believes his life would be completely different without boxing and has praised the sport for saving him.

Speaking in an official press release ahead of his European Featherweight Title fight with Ryan Walsh, the Dane said: “I might not be alive today if I hadn’t started boxing.

Dennis Ceylan

“I would have been dead or in jail. I grew up in an environment surrounded by drugs and crime, and that could have been my destiny too.”

This weekend a Dane will contest the European Title on home soil for the first time since 2010. Ceylan faces a tough task against Walsh, the British Featherweight champion, whose only loss came against Lee Selby in October 2013.

“I’ve always lived my life one day at a time, and before boxing, I always thought I would die young,” added the unbeaten 27-year-old. “You could say boxing saved my life. It gave me a new direction in life that I didn’t have before.”

Prior to turning professional with Team Sauerland in September 2012, the Aarhus fighter compiled a decent record in the unpaid ranks. He won 80 of his 110 contests and represented Denmark at the London Olympics.

Ceylan’s interest in boxing grew after watching the ‘Rocky’ films. “Rocky fought to make others proud, and I could relate to that,” he recalls.

“I’m not just fighting for myself, I’m fighting to repay Frank [Holm, his coach] and to make my family and two children proud.”

Watch Walsh v Ceylan battle for the vacant European Featherweight belt live on BoxNation from 8pm this Saturday.