News April 2019

JL Dickinson dismisses Dawson threat: it won’t be my most dangerous fight


By Michael J Jones

This Saturday at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, British cruiserweight champion Jon Lewis Dickinson defends his domestic crown against danger-man Neil Dawson in an attempt to make the Lonsdale belt his own with a fourth consecutive British title victory.

With the bill featuring the IBF bantamweight contest between champion Stuart Hall and challenger Martin Ward plus support from Frankie Gavin, Bradley Saunders and Kirk Goodings it promises to be a special night for the North East fight scene.

Jon Lewis will be returning from a lengthy spell on the side-lines following a rib injury suffered in his last successful defence against Mike Stafford. At 14-2 (3) the British champion’s only reverses as a pro have been due to unfortunate injuries and he’s looked very solid in the three years since he last tasted defeat.

The champion, still only 27, took the time out to talk to Livefight ahead of the North East bill. He begins by telling me about the physical condition he is in ahead of the Dawson fight.

“Training has been spot on and I’m really fit” Jon Lewis tells me a few days ago. “We’ve stepped everything up with added strength and conditioning work and I honestly feel I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in.”

Neil Dawson at 6’4” is the same height as the champion and carries knockout power in both his right hand and left hook. His only losses have been to Matty Askin and (in Prizefighter) Danny McIntosh while he’s left previously unbeaten prospects Tony Conquest and Chris Keane in unceremonious heaps.

The Rotherham man seems a genuine threat though Dickinson questions his challenger’s power…

“Before (Dawson) fought Tony Conquest word had been going around that (Conquest) had a poor chin so when Dawson stopped him it came as no surprise. With Keane, he hurt Dawson but as he raced in to finish him he dropped his hands and walked onto the right hand. If anyone walks onto a punch by a 14st man they’ll get knocked out.”

Dickinson oozes a quiet but absolute confidence as he breaks down Dawson’s style and short-comings-

“Dawson’s style is that he takes risks to try to hurt his opponent. I think he looks like he’s got power as he takes those chances but it also leaves him open to shots. I think that kind of fighter will always leave their chin in the air and I’ll be able to hit him quite easily.”

“I take every fight as it comes and at the end of the day that’s what you train to do; not get hit whether it’s against a puncher or not. I’m looking forward to this fight as I won’t have to punch down as he’s the same height as me and I like boxing taller opponents. I’ve been working a lot with my brother Travis who is another tall puncher but is a lot faster than Dawson.”

Does he agree with the majority of observers that this is potentially his most dangerous fight to date?

“No I don’t think so” replies the likable Geordie without hesitation. “He got beaten by Matty Askin who knocked him out and who also had a higher knockout percentage so I’d say Askin was more dangerous.”

With Dawson suffering that stoppage defeat a few years ago and having been down several other times in his 12-2 (5) career is an inside victory for the champion imminent come Saturday night?

“It would be nice (stopping Dawson), everyone loves a knockout but I know I can go twelve rounds comfortably so a wins a win a knockout would just be a bonus.”

Of his three inside-distance victories, two were in Prizefighter four years ago while the third was a two-round dismissal of 15-1 Chris Burton. The champion argues while the stoppages haven’t been forthcoming so far he does feel he hits harder than his record suggests.

“With the McPhilbin fight I’d been training I think too long and I felt stale so it made for a pretty boring fight. Then Dave Dolan is just as tough as they come but I still nearly stopped him late-on with a good left hook. With Stafford I was boxing with a broken rib so I couldn’t really hit as I wanted to.”

It’s been a long time before a major boxing show has been put on in Newcastle and on Saturday a 5000 strong crowd will be in attendance. With the Dennis Hobson promoted bill also to be shown live on BoxNation it should be a thrilling night and that fact is far from lost on the Birtley champion…

“I’ve always wanted a show like this at home and the Metro (Radio Arena) is the perfect venue; the atmosphere on the night will be brilliant. With Bradley (Saunders) and Frankie Gavin also on the bill plus the world title fight it’s going to be amazing.”

Twice Jon Lewis Dickinson has come close to boxing major stars only to be denied the opportunity. Four years ago in Prizefighter it was expected to be the Herbie Hide show yet the former two-time WBO heavyweight champion had to bow out with a cut eye. Dickinson would then take the crown having entered the tournament with just five contests under his belt.

Two years after his Prizefighter triumph and having won the Area and English titles, Dickinson was expected to face British cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli but instead faced Shane McPhilbin for the vacant belt after the Welshman failed a drugs test following a controversial British title with McPhilbin.

Missing out on those two scalps must surely be a little frustrating?

“It would have been great fighting Herbie Hide but after getting the go ahead from the doctor he left (the tournament) to ‘preserve his world ranking’ yet he hasn’t boxed since then. I think he was just scared. With Enzo obviously he failed the drugs test so all I could do was box whoever was put in front of me instead.”

“I feel like everything happens for a reason and the big fights will come if I keep winning. I look at guys like Nathan Cleverly and Tony Bellew (who stopped Dickinson in the amateurs) and I’d love to box at that next level. Once I get this next fight won we’ll see what the next move will be.”

Last Saturday younger brother Travis impressed in his debut in the MaxiNutrition light-heavyweight tournament when knocking out Danny McIntosh in just three rounds. Proud Jon had previously predicted a middle-rounds stoppage for his younger sibling and training partner. He has no doubt Travis can win the whole eight-man event and hopes his brother can exact revenge of former conqueror Bob Ajisafe in the process.

“Travis had looked brilliant in the gym (before the McIntosh win) and I don’t think he’s ever trained so hard. I just hope he gets revenge over Bob Ajisafe in the final as last time they fought absolutely nothing went right in his camp beforehand. We know he’s a much better fighter than that and I’m 110% confident he’ll beat him next time.”

Jon Lewis Dickinson vs Neil Dawson will be live and exclusive on BoxNation this Saturday alongside the Stuart Hall-Martin Ward IBF world bantamweight title fight with chief support from Frankie Gavin, Bradley Saunders and Kirk Goodings.

Footage starts from 7pm Sky channel 437 or 490 for HD viewers.

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