Ahead of the third instalment of the popular tournament series, get to know the fighters competing in Ultimate Boxxer's Middleweight tournament on Friday 10th May.
KAAN HAWES (Witham, Essex)
The least amounts of fights, but sky-high on ambition, all-action Hawes could be a surprise revelation.
Third oldest contestant at age 32.
A former Witham Cricket Club captain – Marshall Hatchick Two Counties League, so a very good level. Spent time travelling and coaching Cricket in Australia. Also played football for Witham Town.
Late to start boxing at this level but taken to it very quickly, a natural talent waiting to be unleashed. On the evidence of his performance in a white-collar fight advised that he had what it takes to go amateur. A Cinderella story. Looking to make up for lost time.
Coached by Luke Davison and Billy Long out of Box 2 Burn gym. Says he’ll fight anyone anytime.
Kaan is a lifelong friend with Olly Murs – who’s a big boxing fan and attends his fights and supports him in YouTube videos – who will be supporting him on the night. Friends for a long time. Sees UBIII as a massive opportunity on a big platform. Works full time outside boxing, does boxing for love of it but would love to make enough money from boxing to support his family.
He’s sparred Tey-Lynn Jones who is also a friend.
KEIRON CONWAY (Northampton, Northamptonshire)
The undefeated hot-shot has tasted the high-life after featuring on the Amir Khan v Samuel Vargas undercard and is now hungry to reach the top.
Age 22, one of the youngest on show.
Wanted to box ever since primary school, wanted to follow his best friend who boxed. Remembers staying up as a tiny kid to watch Ricky Hatton. But his dad – who boxed himself – wouldn’t let him get into it, said he wasn’t hard enough to box! So, he did 6 yrs of karate instead and attained a black belt by age 11. Then his dad’s friend came over – who had also been his own old boxing coach – and persuaded him to let Keiron train. Had his first fight at age 12.
Boxes because he loves it. Full time boxer, it’s his life, trains every day. No celebrity links – will be supported by friends and family, supporters from his hometown, Northampton.
Sparred with Derrick Osaze over three rounds last year – said it was a good spar.
Ambition is to be a World Champ and be financially able to support his family and future family. “I want to be a superstar,” he said, and not sit around as another number.
Admires Oscar De La Hoya – but said he boxes nothing like him.
Josh Groombridge (Uttoxeter, Staffordshire)
Hard-hitting talent aims to showcase his talent and break through as a serious contender on the British scene.
Age 26. Got into boxing at 17 having previously done a lot of weight lifting training. Went to a boxing gym and fell in love with the sport.
His first goal is to do well on UBIII and then become Uttoxeter’s first pro boxer, fight on TV and on the big stage. Big ambitions – wants to fight the biggest and the best. Said he know’s he’s an underdog but confident he can upset the odds. Said he has a point to prove.
Lives the life of a boxer, keeps away from drinking and smoking. Boxing his something in which he has found peace and happiness and it’s all he does.
A qualified welder, works a day job as a laser operative. Said he has massive hometown support who will be cheering him on.
Doesn’t know any of the other fighters. Said he isn’t interested in male bravado but lets his fighting do the talking. When bell goes, he said it’s war.
Said goal is to fight for a Midlands Title, as thinks that will set him up for a successful career. Aims to box full time.
Admires Anthony Crolla and said he would love to carry himself like him, a huge idol. As is Dave Allen who he said is an absolute hero.
Derrick Osaze (lives in Nottingham, from Peckham, London)
The unbeaten “Punching Preacher” from Peckham Derrick Osoze who’s got a perfect 6-0 record.
Age 25. Got into Boxing to keep out of trouble, started at 15. Played football, basketball but said his disciplinary record was not the greatest. Boxing has, for him, gone from hobby, to passion to lifestyle.
Faith in god is driving his boxing. Said boxing is a tough sport and he’s had to overcome many setbacks, but his faith has got him through. Said he wouldn’t be boxing without his faith.
He’s an ordained pastor and members of his Church’s congregation (in Nottingham), as well as other pastors, have been to support him at fights in the past. On fight night, he expects some will be in attendance, and the others will be supporting him with prayers.
Played football as a goalkeeper to semi-pro level. Coached kids at Spurs and was a youth scout for Millwall.
Will be supported by friends and family on the night. Grew up in Peckham and expects home support amongst high profile crowd.
Said he knows of some of the other fighters – but said he doesn’t ever comment on his opposition. Focused purely on what he is going to do in the ring.
In terms of career ambitions, he wants to go all the way. He wants to be a World Champ, but said he is going to pace himself – go for Midlands Area Title, then the British, Euro and then World honors, and use the platform to inspire younger people.
Personal boxer favorite is Roy Jones Jr. as he had such a unique style. Admires Hagler for his work rate and will to win. Studies their styles on YouTube.
Joe Hurn (Clacton, Essex)
Relentless and big-punching, the hard Essex man aims to blast his way to honours. Age 33 (second oldest contestant).
Was kickboxing before boxing. Then started having boxing sessions – said he was always more a puncher.
Said his daughter, aged two in June, inspires him. And wants to make her proud. Day job – ground worker. Likes to spend time with family, taking his daughter swimming. Wants to be the best dad possible. Said he’s a family man
Said he’ll be supported by friends – including Bournemouth Defender Charlie Daniels – and family on the night.
Doesn’t really know much about the other fighters – no particular rival but just said it will be a battle.
After UBIII, he aims to try to get a title fight, do well, said he’d love to fight for the Southern Area Title. Big fan of GGG, likes his no nonsense approach, big puncher. Admires Hatton. But wants to be himself in the ring. Would put the prize money aside if he wins UBIII and go on a family holiday.
Said training is going well, in at the gym at 4.30am before dawn, before going to work a 10-hour day.
Tey-Lynn Jones (Basildon, Essex)
Defended his Southern Area Title in his last fight and has sparred with likes of World Champions Billy Joe Saunders, James DeGale and George Groves.
Age 24 (second youngest). Good amateur pedigree having won Queensbury Title. Former Chelsea youth goalkeeper (also played for Crystal Palace). Recently vacated the Southern Area Middleweight strap that he was due to defend against Linus Udofia.
Sees himself as a strong contender but wary of each fighter lying in his wait. Loved playing football but drawn to the individuality of boxing, only himself to rely on, trusts himself.
Good mates with Adam Gemili, the British sprinter who was 2014 European Champion at 200m and part of the GB team that won gold in the 2017 World Championships in the 4 x 100m relay.
Not looking too far ahead but looking to achieve as much as he can one step at a time in boxing. Believes in himself and wants to go far.
Friends with TOWIE’s Kirk Norcross.
Grant Dennis (Chatham, Kent)
The ‘Go Getter’, a former Southern Area Middleweight Champion needed just 48 seconds to score a stunning KO victory in his last fight out.
Age 35 (oldest contestant).
A former Southern Area Middleweight Champion.
Bit of a naughty kid before he got into boxing, liked street fighting. A local friend took him to a boxing gym and he’s never looked back. Said he needed guidance and boxing suited him. He was natural. Boxing was a way he found an outlet and now he wants success, for his children and all the family. Mum passing added fuel to fire his fire, said everything he does is in her memory.
Played semi pro football, Centre Forward for Maidstone and Chatham Town. Will be supported by friends and family on the night, and former pro footballer Leon McKenzie.
Doesn’t know the other fighters but said each one is a potential banana skin. Said he’s going to win the event: “That’s the be all and end all.”
After he wins UBIII, he wants to go for a British Title, then head onwards and upwards in the pro ranks. Said some people think age is against him, but feels he has plenty of time. Said he’s more youthful than most 21-year-olds as he lives the life of an athlete, in the shape of his life, he said.
Was a big Roy Jones Jr. fan growing up. Said he tries to take something from every boxer he fights and works the best buts into his repertoire.
Said he would bank prize money for his kids and their future.
Sean Phillips (Gravesend, Kent)
Training out of the famous Peacock gym. The young, unbeaten, 22-year-old has been tipped for a bright future under the watchful eye of top trainer Martin Bowers, alongside top pros James Branch and Heavyweight star Daniel Dubois.
Sean got into boxing around 13 when his dad took him to the local boxing as he had too much energy to expend. A very good all-round and talented sportsman at school, Sean was particularly good at running and football. Boxing was his passion though and he loved to have a fight so naturally gravitated more towards that.
With an amateur record of 15 wins from 20 fights, he had a break from the sport at about 17 to assess what he wanted to do and then came back into boxing with full vigour as a professional.
In his first pro fight he came up against the more experienced Anthony Fox and the fight was called a draw, but many felt Sean had done enough to be declared the winner. He felt it was a good hard introduction to the pro ranks and it was clearly of benefit to him as he's since gone five fights unbeaten.
He describes his boxing style as come-forward and box when he needs to. With a liking for getting involved in a tear-up, Sean jumped at the chance to enter Ultimate Boxxer when he got the call to replace Brad Pauls and feels that he has a great shot at winning the three-fights-in-one-night format.
Sean was due to participate in the London Marathon and raise money for his good friend and boxer Charlie Wynn who suffered a brain injury in a sparring session (not with Sean). Sean will now dedicate his entry into Ultimate Boxxer to Charlie and aims to be the man with his hand raised at the end of the night.
He wants to win Ultimate Boxxer and then go on to more titles, Southern Area, British, Intercontinental, Commonwealth, European and then ultimately a dream shot at a World Title.
Having red hair, Sean lists all-action star and pound-for-pound best Canelo Alavarez as his favourite current fighter and also admires IBF World Super-Featherweight Champion Tevin Farmer.
Currently he works at his dad’s scaffolding firm and divides his boxing training around that.