BIRTLEY middleweight Mark Dickinson is enjoying a rich vein of form as he breaks through at senior level. He stepped up to the elite and has been winning international tournaments as well as the England Boxing national amateur championships.
“I was senior last year but I made the jump from 69kgs to 75. I’ve just got on to the GB Boxing programme. So they wanted me to have a year to turn into a man. Then I boxed my first senior tournament at the end of last year, then I had my second one [in March] and then they said right it’s time for you to go in the ABAs,” Dickinson explained.
“My first bout as a senior I boxed the Italian who’d beaten Anthony Fowler [Salvatore Cavallaro]. So that was a tough one which I don’t think many people thought I was going to win. So when I won that and then went on to win the gold it was a big statement.”
“I boxed a lad from Kazakhstan [Nurbek Oralbay], he’s a year younger than me, it was his first year at senior. But he won the Youth World championships last year and it was a close fight between me and him. He’s probably the best lad I’ve fought,” he added.
He has taken these bouts against serious opposition in his stride. “I didn’t really put much pressure on myself,” Dickinson said. “I don’t work myself up. I just know that if I perform I’m good enough to win on the day.”
Mark outscored Ramtin Musah in the 75kgs final of the elite national championships. “I know him quite well. We were England team mates together as youths,” Dickinson recalled. “We’ve seen each other box a countless amount of times.”
“I knew it was a good bout. Going into the last round I knew I had to grind it out. 100%. I couldn’t leave nothing to chance,” he continued. “It was aggressive countering, do you know what I mean? Applying pressure but I know what’s coming back.”
The victory, he says, “means everything. I’ve won the schoolboys, I’ve won the juniors, I’ve won two youth belts and the only one that was missing was the senior one.”
Dickinson has joined a host of his own clubmates, like Pat and Luke McCormack, Cyrus Pattinson, Calum French and more, on the GB squad. “What we do back at Birtley with Graeme Rutherford [their coach], he’s the cleverest man in the sport. He knows what he’s doing,” Dickinson said. “Graeme Rutherford’s the man behind the magic. We just do what he says. It seems to work.”
His targets remain lofty. The next Olympic Games in Japan is his aim. “My main goal is to go to 2020,” he said. “I’ve got to keep working because 75kgs probably the most competitive weight down in Sheffield. It’s one of the only weights that hasn’t got a clear number one. We’re all fighting for the spot. There’s Carl Fail, Jordan Reynolds, Lewis Richardson, Sean Lazzerini, myself.”
“So it’s very competitive. It’s all to play for,” he concluded. “I’m ready for anything. Whatever comes up.”