Dallas shooting for state crown
DALLAS Dean got the nickname "Bieber" because of his hair flick, and admits his dowdy "do" gets in the way when he fights.
So why doesn't he get a snip?
"I just don't like haircuts," he said.
Another thing the 14-year-old doesn't like is losing.
The Hervey Bay teen has been fighting for three years and has yet to taste defeat in his six bouts.
The next step is a state title fight, which awaits him on Saturday when he clashes with Brayden Richardson for the ISKA junior Queensland lightweight belt at Hervey Bay State High School's great hall.
Anxious to protect his undefeated record, Dean's approach to the fight is simple.
"I've got to be aggressive and come forward more," he said.
"I've trained as hard as I could and it's just a matter of applying what I've learned in practice."
Dean started his Muay Thai journey in 2009, after his father, Wayne, wanted him to learn self defence.
Little did he know how good he was.
"I didn't expect to win this much," he said.
Since taking up the sport Dean has developed his skills at a rapid rate while growing into his lanky frame.
But he was quick to credit his coach, Craig Glover, for his early success.
"He's unbelievable. He just puts so much faith in me," Dean said.
Keen to get bigger scalps on his list of vanquished opponents, Dean is relying on his strong work ethic and natural resilience as he embarks on the next stage of his career.
His coach is equally positive his attitude and professionalism will bring success.
"Like any kid, he needs motivating, but having said that, with a little encouragement he takes it on board and runs with it," Glover said.
"I often, at the end of some training sessions, give him a hug because he inspires everyone in the gym.
"We sometimes forget just how young he is."
Glover is convinced Dean is a superstar in the making.
As a 13-year-old, he stopped a 16-year-old opponent by TKO in the second round. In May, Dean showed plenty of ticker when he held a fighter about 10 years his senior to a draw.
Amassing victories against older opponents has become a trademark for Dean.
On Saturday, he takes on Richardson, another 16-year-old, and is determined to put on a good show for the crowd.
Four title fights, including two Australian titles, will be contested by locals at Hervey Bay State High School's great hall. The bouts will include Muay Thai and mixed martial arts fights.
Best thing about Muay Thai: The challenge of beating your opponent
Worst thing: Probably the injuries
Favourite meal: Fried rice
Biggest inspiration: Narelle Leahey, who trains with us
Highlight of your career: Stopping a 16-year-old when I was 13 in just my third fight
Ultimate dream: Win an Australian title