By Elliot Foster
Tony Dodson has been handed a career-reviving opportunity as he looks to give boxing a final throw of the dice.
The Liverpool light heavyweight had been due to box on the undercard of David Haye’s next fight on May 21 at London’s O2 Arena.
But Dodson (32-8-1, 15 KOs), 35, was pulled from that card after receiving a call to fight for a domestic title on the undercard of a stadium fight, which looks set to be aired exclusively live on Sky Sports.
He’ll challenge Hosea Burton (15-0, 6 KOs) for the British title at 175lbs as part of the same bill on which Tony Bellew faces Ilunga Makabu for the vacant WBC world cruiserweight title on May 29 at Everton Football Club’s Goodison Park.
“The fight’s on,” said Dodson, who has fought for the prized British bauble numerous times before, when we caught up with him regarding the fight. “It’s a done deal, I agreed to it weeks ago.
“This is my last chance. [Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Sport] have given me a lifeline and I can’t fuck up.”
“I’ve always had a working relationship with Matchroom,” said Dodson, who has had three low-key wins, including a first round stoppage, since making his comeback after losing to Paul Smith back in July, 2013.
“I may have only had three fights in just under three years but it’s not like I’ve only wanted those fights. I’ve wanted to be busy; but the problem is that if you’ve not got the backing of a major promoter, a major broadcaster or you’re not a Matchroom or Frank Warren fighter, it’s difficult to get regular work.
“I’m under no illusions, though, and I know that I’m in this fight because they [Matchroom] believe it’s a good fight for Hosea, a good name for his record, but come fight night I’ll be more than ready for what he brings and more than ready for whatever fighting style he wants to use to try to beat me.”
Dodson admits that he only has a handful of fights left before it’s time for him to hang up the gloves for good and the avid Liverpool fan was asked whether being in the cauldron of noise that will be Goodison, which is –– of course –– the home of Blues, would affect him in any way.
“Listen,” he asserted, “I’ve stood in the Ice Arena in Nottingham with 20,000 people screaming: ‘Who the fucking hell are you,’ so there is absolutely no chance that it’ll bother me. Nothing fazes me.
“It’s funny, actually, that the fight is at Goodison, because my cousin used to play for Everton and although I’m a massive Red, all the lads –– Gazza, Danny Cadermateri, Franny Jeffers –– used to come and watch me fight so we’re all mates.
“We’re Scousers and we stick together, the place will be bouncing, it’ll be full and it’s going to be an epic night for the city and the sport.”
Burton, who stopped Frank Warren fighter Miles Shinkwin inside six rounds in February to win the Lonsdale belt, was scheduled to defend the crown against an opponent to be named on May 7 as part of the undercard to Anthony Crolla’s WBA lightweight title defence against Venezuelan mandatory challenger Ismael Barroso at the Manchester Arena.
However, after the fight with Dodson was agreed, his clash on the card was downgraded to eight rounds.
“People say he’s a puncher, he can bang, he’s this and he’s that. He’s had 15 fights and only knocked six out. He’s no puncher,” Dodson concluded.
“He’s boxed bums, nobodies, and the only notable name on his record is Miles Shinkwin.
“He may think he can beat me but he’ll find out on fight night that I’m a different kettle of fish.”
Meanwhile, Steve Brogan (7-0, 1 KO) has also been confirmed for the undercard, which is already set to feature Sean Dodd in a title fight, a title dust-up at super lightweight between geographical rivals Kofi Yates, of Wythenshawe, and Liverpool’s Tom Farrell, as well as Chester super bantamweight Paul Economides, former British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion David Price.
Further championship contests, as well as more prospects, will be added to the bill in due course.