By John Evans
Hot prospect “Jazza” Dickens stretched his unbeaten record to 11-0 (4) on July 29 with a one sided decision over Kristian Laight on the inaugural Merseyside Sporting Club dinner show at the Devonshire Hotel in Liverpool.
Dickens (9st 10lbs) was initially due to meet Dai Davies at super bantamweight but Davies’ withdrawal on the Thursday meant that Dickens was instead matched with late notice substitute Laight (10st 2lbs). Knowing Dickens, the thought of withdrawing and letting down his fans never even entered his mind and so, having weighed 8st 12lbs on Thursday morning, the 21-year-old southpaw simply packed back on an extra stone and happily went about his job.
Dickens displayed his now customary mixture of aggression, work rate and mastery of range to totally dominate every second of the eight rounder and also showed glimpses of the head movement that he and trainer Paul Stevenson have been working on in the gym. Laight, who later described Dickens as “a strong, awkward little bugger” found it almost impossible to lay a glove on the man who might just become the best of Britain’s current crop of talented super bantamweights.
If ‘Jazza’ is to reach title level over the next 12 months then he is going to need to be more visible. The charismatic Dickens has been criminally under-promoted so far but there are signs that things could be about to change. Dickens admits he has experienced a big increase in interest since he starred in a recent documentary charting the progress of himself and Olympians Thomas Stalker and Natasha Jonas, a fact not lost on his manager Steve Wood.
“I think he’s probably outgrown my shows after Sunday” Wood told Boxingscene recently. “The problem that Hatton Promotions [Dickens’ promoter] have got – and it’s not any different to the other promoters – is that they probably have too many fighters and not enough dates. We are worried about what’s happening with television and we’ll be as loyal as we can be to Hatton Promotions, but from my point of view I’m not gonna forget that the boxer comes first. The Hatton’s will be given an opportunity to deliver their promotional contract, but if they can’t honour it, I’ll be expecting to let me know so that we can look somewhere else. They will be given every opportunity to fulfil their deal though.”
Paul Stevenson took time out from preparing Dickens this weekend to discuss the future of Commonwealth flyweight champion Kevin Satchell. The unbeaten Liverpudlian, 8-0 (1), put in a career best performance to stop fellow Scouser Paul Edwards for the title this past April and the 23 year old seems set for another step up in his next outing.
“We believe very much in trying not to go sideways, but certainly not going backwards.” Stevenson told BoxingScene. “We’ve been promised a British title fight with Chris Edwards in October. We never try to speak too confidently but if he can beat him and maybe make a defence of it, then we’ll look to the European scene. They are more opponents out there. That’s how I would envisage things going on for Kevin.”
Although the fight with Edwards was seen as a pick’em fight, ‘Satch’ put in an outstanding performance to dominate his city rival. Satchell looked big at the weight and this - as is the norm in the lower weight classes - caused people to question how long he can continue to make the 8 stone limit. Stevenson explains that weight hasn’t posed a major problem yet.
“He does the weight well. A lot of people were saying before the [Edwards] fight that he’d never do the twelve and stay strong and when he did manage the weight and stayed strong, people were saying that he isn’t a natural flyweight!” laughs the Everton Red Triangle coach.
“Kevin’s boxed at 8st 10lbs when we’ve been rang up the day before and told that the opponent’s coming in at 9 stone and that we’d better put some weight on. He’s also boxed at 8st 3lb on the day. If he can do that then we know he’ll have no problems doing 8 stone the day before.”