By Michael Shepherd – Liverpool is a true boxing city and has always produced high-quality boxers, with world champions like John Conteh.
I sat down with former domestic ruler at super-bantamweight Jazza Dickens to discuss his love of the city and where his career currently stands.
“Liverpool has always been special to me, no matter where I travel I love driving down the M62 back into the city. I grew up near the city centre in a small community called Holycross. There was a school, youth club, church, chippy, shop, pub and football field. Everything the community needed. Me and my friends bonded over school and football. At the age of 13 I went to a boxing gym for the first time with my cousin, not long after that, I swapped football for boxing and never looked back”.
Jazza took up boxing at the age of 12 at the Salisbury ABC; after two years, he moved on to the Golden Gloves ABC and continued to Everton Red Triangle Boxing Club, representing his country many times at junior level, winning the senior ABA bantamweight title in 2010.
After missing out on selection for the Commonwealth Games, he decided the time was right to turn professional, making his debut in January 2011.
He went on to win his first thirteen fights, including victories over Yuriy Voronin and Franklin Varela, before facing Jon Fernandes in March 2013 for the vacant English super bantamweight title, winning by a unanimous decision at the Echo Arena, Liverpool.
Jazza won his next two fights against Dai Davies and Reynaldo Cajina, before his first shot at the British title against Kid Galahad in September 2013, It wasnt to be on this occasion, Galahad stopping him in the tenth round, inflicting the first defeat of his professional career.
Dusting himself off, Dickens won his next two fights before getting a second chance at the British title, Standing in his way was Josh Wale but this time it was roles reversed as Dickens came away with a unanimous decision win at the Echo Arena in March 2015, before beating Arnoldo Solano on points in July 2015.
Jazza went on to face Cuban ring artist Guillermo Rigondeaux, a double Olympic champion and WBA ‘Super’ super-bantamweight world champion in Cardiff. The fight was just starting to heat up when a solid left hand from the Cuban halted the contest in the 2nd round with 25-year-old Dickens suffering a broken jaw.
After the Riogndeaux bout, Jazza succumbed to defeat for his British super-bantamweight title against Thomas Ward via a technical decision.
The pair clashed for the former’s belt, but it was the challenger who came out on top after the fight was stopped due to an accidental head clash. The heads came together as Ward was pushed to the canvas and the cut above the left eye opened up, the referee stopped the fight on the advice of the ringside doctor and the scorecards at the time of the stoppage were 85-87, 84-88 and 85-87.
Jazza believes his success and Failure is all part of a destined plan and everything happens for a reason
“I learned more from the losses, that’s the boxer I am. I hate losing it kills me but I’m not afraid to lose, that’s what makes me good to watch and I’m always learning. I never took anything other than lessons from my early fights. I always knew that those fights were to learn the craft. But many boxers Believe the hype. Good for confidence, but so many times boxers gain a false confidence”.
Dickens revealed his ideal 2018 would involve a rematch with Tommy Ward (23-0) for the British title and then get back onto the world scene