Friday, 30 November 2012

Bristol boxer Dean Francis aims to be his own boss

NO MATTER what happens on his ring return in Newport on Saturday night, Dean Francis is determined to be his own boss.

Back in Chris Sanigar's Bristol Boxing Gym after an absence of more than three years, the 38-year-old former British and European champion has vowed never to become a wage slave again.

Badly beaten and dejected with the fight game after being stopped by John Keeton in a Prizefighter event semi-final in London in May 2009, Francis opted to retire and turn his back on the ring once and for all.

But a subsequent venture into the world of nine-to-five did not suit a man more accustomed to keeping his own hours and, pretty soon, Francis was hankering after the adulation and instant recognition that go hand-in-hand with championship status.

Several months of blood, sweat and tears in the gym will be put to the ultimate test when Francis makes his comeback against unbeaten Welshman Justyn Hugh in a ten-round contest for the vacant International Masters light heavyweight title.

And Francis is adamant his second coming will not go the way of Ricky Hatton's comeback, which ended in bitter defeat after the Hitman was dropped in the final round by Vyacheslav Senchenko in Manchester last Saturday.

"I'm coming back for the same reasons Ricky did, but that is where the similarities end," contends Francis.

"Like Ricky Hatton, I could not get on with life outside of boxing. I tried working for other people and doing nine-to-five jobs and it just wasn't me.

"I quickly became disillusioned and ended up back in the gym teaching people how to box and keep fit.

"I'm very much my own man and I didn't like working for someone else. I found I was miserable and missing boxing and I decided I had to go back and give it one more go.

"If I win this fight, then it means signing up again to the lifestyle I've always known. It's all about hard work and discipline and those are things I like to be able to do for myself, not for a boss.

"Win this fight and I can continue to go my own way towards a world title fight."

Although Hugh is unbeaten in 12 paid outings, he is unlikely to hinder a man who is hell-bent on regaining his former status.

Francis has trained diligently, is in superb condition and looks like his old self in sparring. Even after three-and-a-half years out of the ring, he should possess too much class for the home fighter.

Bristol boxer Dean Francis aims to be his own boss

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