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Jazza Dickens back in action in Bolton on Friday

Liverpool’s Jazza Dickens knows all about setbacks, both professionally and personally, but the charismatic southpaw still holds his dreams of world title glory firmly as he prepares to return to action in Bolton on Friday, writes Chris Walker.

Recapturing the British title that he wore proudly is the first part of Dickens’ plan to reach boxing’s summit, and with a rejuvenated confidence in place since joining up with Derry Mathews and Georgie Vaughan, Dickens believes he’s making the necessary adjustments to fulfil his ambitions.

“All I’ve wanted since I was a little kid was to be world champion,” declares Dickens in a reflecting tone.

“When I was an amateur coming up, you got to see kids dream about going the Olympics, and although that’s quite an achievement, that wasn’t my goal. The moment I got my ABA title I ran straight to the professionals because I wanted to become a world champion and be the very best I could possibly be.

“That dream hasn’t changed for me and it’s till something that I think of every single day.”

Dickens’ quest to become super-bantamweight division ruler has hit a number of obstacles during his ascent through the professional ranks – even before the back-to-back withdrawals of Martin and Tommy Ward scuppered his hopes of fighting for the Lonsdale belt this weekend.

A 2014 loss to Sheffield’s Kid Galahad threatened to derail his mission, but domestic glory brought the best out of him before running into Cuban maestro, Guillermo Rigondeaux in 2016. Dickens’ jaw was broken in the second session and he was unable to continue, but that fight gave the former star amateur a sample of the highest level, and it’s a platform he’s desperate to return to.

Dickens said: “Even though that fight was short, I knew from being in there that I was capable of being at that level on a more regular basis. It’s something I want so bad, but I’m just going to have to be a little more patient and put faith in myself and my team that I’ll be back there real soon.

“The British belt is what is on my mind for the time being, but being world champion is still the motivation pushing me into every fight.”

Tommy Ward: ’If Jazza Dickens Can Fight For A World Title, Then So Can I’

It’s the most prestigious belt in boxing; every British fighter dreams of winning the Lonsdale Belt. So, it’s no surprise that Northeast fighter Tommy Ward found it a hard decision to vacate his British Super Bantamweight Title.

Ward, 23-0 (3), beat Liverpool’s Jazza Dickens for the domestic crown last year, but has decided to give up the belt in pursuit of world honours.

Headlining at the Rainton Meadows Arena on July 27 live on Freesports (Freeview 95, Freesat 252, Sky 422, BT 95, Talk Talk 95), the County Durham fighter makes his first foray onto the international scene when he fights Spain’s Alvaro Rodriguez, 8-1-1 (1), for the vacant IBF European Super Bantamweight Title.

The skilful 24-year-old has plenty of boxing insiders believing he can go all the way to the top. Although he knows little about his Spanish opponent, Tommy is pleased to be topping the Dennis Hobson show on home turf, and wants to put on a world class performance in front of the TV cameras.

“It was a hard decision to give up the British Title, but I talked to my team, Dave Garside and Neil Fannan, and we decided it was the right way to go. There were a lot of issues going on behind closed doors that people don’t know about. So, the decision was made to vacate and move onto world honours; push towards world titles. That’s the best route forwards.

“I really don’t know anything about Rodriguez. He’s supposed to be a tough Spaniard, but I’ll go in there and be the best I can be. If I perform I believe I can beat anybody, and I don’t see this being any different. I’ve had a really good training camp, sparring’s gone well and I’m looking forward to it.

“Obviously, you don’t know what to expect with unknown opponents. I don’t know if he can punch through a wall, or if he’s tricky or skillful. All I know is that you can expect the best of me. I’ve come on loads, and unless he’s got dynamite in his hands then he’s going to need a lot more to beat me.

“I believe I’m ready for the world stage now. I’ve obviously proved I’m British level. I beat Jazza Dickens and, despite the ending, thought I beat him comfortably. Also, that was a while ago and I’ve improved since then; and I’ve filled out more. So, I’ve showed I’ve got the ability and skill, and if Jazza can fight for a world title then I don’t see any reason why I can’t.

“I’m ready to test myself at world level and see where I’m at.”

Dennis Hobson Promotions, in association with Phil Jeffries and Dave Garside and sponsored by Steve Crump, presents Thomas Ward fighting Alvaro Rodrigues for the IBF European Super Bantamweight Title, at the Rainton Meadows Arena on July 27.

The show will be broadcast live on Freesports

For ticket information contact 07747 611 020.

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