Dennis McCann: “I thrive under pressure”

BN: What prompted your decision to challenge Ionut Baluta?

DM: Baluta has been successful against some of Frank Warren’s fighters. His recent win against Andrew Cain, another skilled fighter, caught my attention. I wanted to take on Baluta and showcase my abilities to the world.

BN: Did Andrew Cain underperform against Baluta?

DM: Baluta showed great determination by recovering from two knockdowns and winning the fight by decision. When I face opponents, I rely on my intelligence and believe none of them possesses the same level of strategic thinking. I am highly perceptive in the ring and always stand by my actions. However, I feel that Cain became complacent and lazy at certain stages of the fight. Baluta’s hard work and dedication ultimately paid off.

BN: Would you be disappointed with a points victory?

DM: Not at all, because I am aware of Baluta’s skills and strong chin. I have confidence in my abilities and believe I can secure a stoppage. It might happen sooner rather than later, as I possess unpredictability. If I don’t know what I’m going to do, how can my opponent anticipate my moves? I can adapt, deliver powerful punches, and possess superior speed and strength. Furthermore, I consider myself smarter and even better looking! So, how can he defeat me? I’m not being arrogant, I simply have unwavering faith in my capabilities. I know what I’m capable of doing. Additionally, while Baluta has defeated the likes of former belt-holder TJ Doheny, he has yet to face ‘The Menace,’ therefore he is in for the worst night of his life.

BN: Have you faced challenges in terms of motivation throughout your 14 fights?

DM: No, because I have a deep love for boxing. I immerse myself in the sport, dedicating my time to it 24/7. However, when there’s no significant risk involved, complacency can sometimes set in. I believe I am only a couple of fights away from a world title. I want to fight against opponents who are fresh and hungry, rather than those who have just suffered a loss. While Baluta may not be as hungry as me, he still possesses a strong drive.

BN: How would you evaluate your career development up to this point?

DM: Since my last fight with Joe Ham, I feel much stronger physically and my punching power has increased significantly. I now consider myself a man. Previously, I was just a boy. I believe I will continue to grow stronger and stronger. In my last two fights, I defeated opponents who had never been stopped before; James Beech and Joe Ham, both talented fighters. I regard Baluta as a fringe world-level boxer. He is undoubtedly skilled, but I am superior.

BN: Baluta has also shown his ability to defy the odds.

DM: The more pressure I face, the better I perform. When I was 15 years old, I traveled to Russia, where I fought in front of thousands of Russians. I defeated their hometown boxer. Facing pressure motivates me. That’s the type of person I am.

BN: What memories do you have of that experience?

DM: It was a fantastic experience. I traveled to Russia for the European Schoolboys Games and triumphed over the best competitors. I sparred and fought against various styles, adapting to every challenge. No style has ever overwhelmed me.

Dennis McCann (R) exchanges punches with Joe Ham (Alex Morton/Getty Images)

BN: Would you say you had to mature quickly?

DM: When I was 11 years old, I would travel for three to four hours by train from Birmingham to London. I walked through Bethnal Green Park, surrounded by tough individuals. Fear never affected me since I was a child. I would take trains, wear my backpack, train in the gym, and return home. Even at 11 years old, I would arrive home at 11 o’clock. I left school at 10 to pursue boxing. I’ve always had a tenacious spirit.

BN: Is there anything that intimidates or scares you?

DM: My mum! (laughs) I’m not saying this to portray myself as tough. I am far from that. This is why I have accomplished so much: I spar with individuals weighing 100kg in the gym and offer them strong competition. For some reason, I believe I can defeat them regardless of their size. Nothing fazes me, it’s the truth. Well, except when my mother comes out with her slipper. I’ve experienced that a few times.

BN: What has life been like for you since your last fight?

DM: I am genuinely devoted to boxing. I participate in marathons and climb mountains. My strength coach is a former marine who keeps me on my toes. I never leave the gym. It benefits my mental state as well. Resting during my time off has also contributed to my strength. I never truly rest. After a fight, I return to the gym.

BN: There is a remarkable opportunity for you to achieve great things and have an outstanding career.

DM: I want to secure the financial stability of my family. I aspire to become a legend and serve as a role model for young kids, showing them what is possible. Staying disciplined is crucial for me. I need to remain focused and not let success get to my head. Fortunately, I have a reliable team that ensures I stay on the right track.

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