BACK in 2014 Jon-Lewis Dickinson became the first boxer from the north-east to claim a clean sweep of domestic titles having won the Prizefighter (2010), Northern Area (2011), English (2012), British (2012) and then making successful defences to own the Lord Lonsdale belt outright with a stoppage win against Neil Dawson in March 2014.
Following consecutive losses to Ovill McKenzie and Courtney Fry, victories over Stephen Simmons (for the WBC International Silver) and Jiri Svacina (in his last outing) put the 17-4 (5) cruiserweight right back in the mix and an upcoming eliminator for the British title, against Belfast’s undefeated Tommy McCarthy, 8-0 (5), is not seen as a backward step, far from it.
“This is a great opportunity for me and is live on Sky Sports against an unbeaten fighter so I can’t knock something like that back,” said Jon-Lewis of his impending clash with McCarthy.
“You can wait for massive opportunities to come along all you want but if you’re happy with what’s on offer then take it, you have to.”
In McCarthy Dickinson knows that he will be a big scalp on the up-and-coming star’s record, to go alongside Fry who McCarthy beat in Belfast last year. Dickinson hopes that factor, with his having lost to Fry, works to his advantage. He even points to recent experiences of travelling to Latvia for a ten-day training camp in February with the current IBF Inter-continental champion, Mairis Briedis, alongside local sparring with big-hitters Warren Baister and Simon Vallily, as greater preparation than even the fights McCarthy has endured to date.
“I didn’t achieve much, personally, in beating Svacina; my spars were tougher than that fight,” he said.
“It was more about getting back out and getting the rust off, after all, it had been a year since I defeated Simmons. I’m also not one for fighting journeymen either, they’re there for a reason and do a good purpose for a fighter.
“Sparring the likes of Briedis is better than most you’d have early on; it keeps you switched on, alert, and if you make mistakes and get caught, you learn from it.
“I’m hoping that McCarthy will have in his mind that I lost to Fry and he beat him. I’ve learnt from that though so hopefully he’ll have that on his mind for Fry was the biggest name he’s been in with.
“He’s also a bit of an unknown but has a good amateur background which is usually carried over anyway so I’m going into this in great nick and will hopefully put in a great performance and showing on the night.
“I couldn’t possibly have done anything more for this and that’s down to people like Martin Nugent (Strength coach), Chris Clayton (nutritionist), and my coaches Ronnie (Rowe) and Gary (Barr). Everything has gone according to plan, I’m in great shape and more than ready for it.”
What about afterwards though, Dickinson has always claimed to be wanting of a challenge at European and world level, so is that still the case?
“We’ll look at what’s available and if there’s a good offer to face (Matty) Askin, then I’ll take it,” he continued.
“I’d also love a rematch with Ovill McKenzie somewhere down the line but I’m unsure of his path at present.
“Otherwise it’s a look at Tony Bellew if he wins the world title [Bellew opposes Ilunga Makabu for the WBC World cruiserweight on May 29]. I’ve got the experience, the belief, and the backing of Fighting Chance, Fightstore Pro & Rev Gear, and WM Utilities, to be able to step up to that level and take that chance.”
Jon-Lewis Dickinson opposes undefeated Tommy McCarthy at the SSE Hydro, Glasgow on Saturday night as part of the Ricky Burns vs. Michele Di Rocco world title undercard.