By John Evans
For Jon Lewis Dickinson, February 15th will see the accomplishment of one goal and the step on the road to achieving another.
Dickinson, 12-2 (3), makes the first defence of his British cruiserweight title against former foe David Dolan at the Rainton Meadows Arena, Tyne and Wear and the occasion sees the 26-year-old fulfil an ambition he has harboured since turning professional.
“What I said when I first turned pro was that I wanted to win a British title and then defend it back up in the North East and top the bill on my own show,” Dickinson told Boxingscene in a recent conversation. “That’s what I’m about to do and it’s one of the steps I wanted to take so it’s brilliant.
“Obviously the [British cruiserweight title] belt’s been passed around a bit so hopefully I can show that I’m here to stay. My plan is to keep it outright so I’ll fight anybody that there is to fight.”
The first bout between the pair was a good, closely contested fight for the Northern Area title. Dickinson pulled away down the stretch to earn a 10-round decision, but he reveals that the fight was just a much a mental battle as a physical one.
“Aye,” Dickinson says in his broad County Durham accent. “The last fight was a good one so if it’s anything like that it should be a good watch. Hopefully I’ll see how far I’ve come on in the year and a half since. Last time we both had similar workrates but the difference was that I was landing the shots whereas his were missing a lot and hitting the arms. I feel like I’ve come on quite a lot and hopefully it shows.
“It was my first fight back after my jaw injury [Dickinson suffered a badly broken jaw in a fight with Richard Turba in September 2010] and I’d never been in a fight longer than four rounds so it was new territory for me.
“Your mind plays with you and all. I remember sitting down after the fifth round and thinking ‘Christ, I’m only half way’ you know? I’d done it in the gym and put the work in but you still get the doubts about whether you’re fit enough. I kinda kept things at the same pace until the sixth or seventh round and when I realised I was fit enough, I pulled away near the end of the fight.”
Dickinson’s fight with Dolan finally provides the cruiserweight division with a quality British title fight. For too long, the 200lb class has been the preserve of freak shows and farce. Watch Jon Lewis Dickinson fight and one of the first words that spring to mind is ‘solid’. He may only have fourteen fights under his belt but the 6ft 4in tall, hardened battler seems to have overcome an unfortunate run of injuries and gives the impression that he will be around for the long haul.
“To be fair, I dunno how they give the decision to Leon Williams [when he took the belt from the much derided but long reigning champion Rob Norton in October 2011],” Dickinson says when reflecting back on the divisions recent chequered past.
“Everyone watching knows for a fact that Norton won that fight. But — on the same hand — it got rid of Norton!” he laughs. “He was horrible. Television didn’t wanna show him because he lost them viewers. Then there was the Shane McPhilbin carry on with him getting beat by Williams for the full fight then knocking him out and then the controversial fight with Enzo Macarinelli. Aye, it’s been a bit up and down! Hopefully I’m the one who can keep hold of it for a while and get some good fights in.”
Dickinson is promoted by Frank Maloney and won the British title by beating McPhilbin on the undercard of David Price’s destruction of Audley Harrison at a packed Echo Arena in Liverpool. Price is likely to sell out the arena again when he fights Tony Thompson just one week after Dickinson’s maiden defence but the man from the North East can’t wait to give his fans a more intimate view of the action.
“Obviously I boxed in the Echo Arena on the Price bill but the problem when you get too big an arena is that I took a lot of fans down to Liverpool but because the arena’s that big, they’re miles away.
“I took 250 people down to Liverpool and I got to the ring and turned around to see them and it was like looking across a football pitch! It was good support but it’s nice for the fans to see exactly what’s going on. I’m not saying it [the Rainton Meadows Arena] is a better place but for this fight it’ll be a better atmosphere and everyone in the place can see what’s happening. Aye, it’s spot on.”
At the recent Carl Froch-Mikkel Kessler press conference, Froch’s trainer Robert McCracken revealed that the difference between the pair may well be the respective levels of recent competition. Since beating Dolan, Dickinson has gone on to beat the highly rated Matty Askin over ten hard rounds and complete the full twelve with the tough McPhilbin. On the other hand, Dolan has ticked over with a couple of low-key victories over journeymen. Dickinson should prevail.
We are about to find out if Britain really does have a talented, tough cruiserweight capable of staying at the top for longer than two or three training camps.
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