News April 2019

Now or Never for 'The Warrior'; Dodson offered Fielding fight


By Michael J Jones

On February 22nd at the Hull Ice Arena, Liverpool’s long-time contender Tony Dodson embarks on the latest phase of his near-fifteen year career. The former British and English champion faces an opponent to be confirmed over six-rounds as he looks to put a loss to old foe Paul Smith seven months ago behind him.

The crowd-pleasing Scouser has been in some of the most memorable ring wars in recent years but has always struggled to find consistency in his colourful career. At 33-years-old and a veteran of 38 bouts, Dodson is more than aware that it’s crucial 2014 is the year he puts it all together.

“I know I’ve been very unlucky all the way through my career” the 29-8-1 (14) Tony tells Livefight earlier this week. “The ‘what ifs’ are what drive me now to put everything into my career. Look at some of those losses; I was ahead by a mile and dominating when I got stopped by Tony Quigley (in the last for the British title), I lost a few on cuts when I was winning the fights, Carl Froch even...I felt I’d won all three rounds until he caught me with that body shot.”

Three years ago, Dodson’s bad luck struck again when he was forced out of the Light-heavyweight Prizefighter with a badly cut eye after dominating both his first two contests against Michael Banbula and Menay Edwards respectfully.

“I’d got cut sparring a cruiserweight before Prizefighter and Banbula opened it up again with his head” explains Dodson. “I won those two fights and got £8000, then the stand-in (Sam Couzens) goes straight into the final and gets £15,000 for losing to Travis Dickinson who I would have also schooled...but that’s just the story of my career.”

Dodson, deservedly nicknamed “The Warrior”, also points out his two most recent defeats to Ovill McKenzie and Smith as nights which also proved highly frustrating.

“Ovill McKenzie hit me on the back of the head, I didn’t go down but it was just stopped (in the third for the Commonwealth 175lb title). Last time out against Smith, absolutely not meaning to discredit Paul Smith and his team but that was just a huge tactical error for me.”

“If you look at all of Paul Smith’s previous fights he’s always looked better coming forward and less comfortable when put on the back-foot. I’d trained the whole camp to push him back and learned from the first fight. I didn't expect him to box on the back-foot and it was just perfect tactics which threw me off my own game-plan. I think it’s a huge credit to my team and trainer John Rice that I was able to get up from that third round knock-down and come back to win the round and make it 10-9 to him and not 10-8.”

In a rematch of a 2010 thriller which had been won by Smith by a bloody decision, Dodson was disappointingly stopped in the sixth in the Bolton return. The bout for the vacant British super-middleweight title was concluded in the sixth after Dodson shipped a heavy right to the head though Tony questions the stoppage by referee Richie Davies.

“In the sixth, the right hand landed and I immediately thought ‘good shot’ and that’s why I know I was fine to continue. I think the ref just panicked and jumped in but I’d already shown in the third that I was in good enough condition to come back from a shot like that.”

“I wasn’t badly hurt or even dazed. I’ve been stopped before when I didn’t know what had happened but this time wasn’t like that at all I really think that was a disgusting stoppage.”

Those bugbears aired, we move onto the future starting at Hull next month (on the Darren Hamilton-Curtis Woodhouse bill) promoted by Matchroom.

“I don’t care who they put me in with it’s the same as always with me” Dodson says with a steely matter-of-factness.

Although we don’t know who the likable Liverpool puncher will be facing he is already promising to be in excellent shape for the contest and has high hopes for the rest of the year ahead.

“Since my last fight (vs Smith last June) I’ve stayed in the gym and training has gone perfect. My weight I’ve not allowed to balloon this time I’ve been able to control it more. It’s always hard making weight but not quite so bad when you stay just above your fighting weight.”

“I’m not going to struggle down to super-middle when it’s not a championship fight but I’ll be coming in at 12st 4 to 12st 6. I can still make (168lbs) but it’s pointless making that weight without a title on the line.”

A veteran of many memorable Livepool derbies, Dodson looks close to engaging in another should he come through unscathed next month...

“I’ve already been offered a Commonwealth title fight against Rocky Fielding in March and that’s a fight I’ll be happy to take. Me and Rocky get on having shared a gym together a few years ago but this is business and about providing for my family.”

“After I get through the Hull fight, hopefully win that Commonwealth title and then I’d like fight for the British title again. I’ve always wanted the Lonsdale belt to keep.”

Note: Dodson won the British belt just over ten years ago with an eleventh-round knockout over tricky Allan Foster but has failed in four subsequent attempts to reclaim it though in good company.

Despite some hard-luck in his fifteen year career, Dodson has also plenty to be proud of as a former British, English and Central Area champion and, as said, in some of the most thrilling domestic bouts witnessed in the last ten years.

What are his own proudest moments in his career?

“Winning the British title against Allan Foster was definitely one of my proudest moments and one of the pinnacles of my career. The Jamie Hearn fight winning the English belt was another and the Brian Barbosa fight and even the Quigley fight...I lost but what an absolute war we had.”

I can’t possibly conclude the interview without asking Tony about that amazing night some twelve years ago when he stepped in at very late notice as a fourteen-fight novice to tackle the dangerous Barbosa.

“I got asked to take that fight on four days’ notice” remembers Dodson fondly. “He was world ranked and obviously more experienced (at 29-5). I looked through his resume and watched a tape of him knocking a Mexican fighter spark out but I just said ‘let’s have it’ and agreed to take the fight.”

Roared on by passionate home crowd, Dodson out-muscled the shocked American, dropping him heavily before taking a deserved 79-76 decision. It was a truly epic upset especially seeing as Dodson was coming off his first defeat just weeks earlier and injured his hand during the contest.

“The trouble with my whole career has been that lack of consistency” says the 33-year-old seriously. “I’ve enjoyed my career and had some great nights but I want to show my full potential now and I’m going to give it my everything as I feel overall I’ve under-achieved in my career and not lived up to expectation.”

“I’m prepared to get carried out on a stretcher to get to where I want. I don’t mean that to cause offense to anyone but that’s how motivated and determined I am to succeed starting in Hull.”



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