Merseyside hero James ‘Jazza’ Dickens says he’s happy to be labelled as the underdog heading into his massive David versus Goliath showdown with pound-for-pound star Guillermo Rigondeaux but insists he won’t be there to make up the numbers.
Dickens takes on the Cuban superstar over ten rounds on the title-packed undercard of Terry Flanagan’s world title defence against Derry Mathews on Saturday 12th March, exclusively live on BoxNation.
‘Jazza’, who’ll be fighting Rigondeaux in front of his home crowd at the Liverpool Echo Arena, has already been written off by many people in the boxing world but the chirpy Scouser remains fully focused on causing one of the biggest upsets in recent boxing history.
“People have already told me that I have no chance of beating him but when I look in another man’s eyes I can see he’s just the same as me. I’m a man and he’s a man; we both feel courage and we both feel fear. On the night we’ll be stepping in the ring as equals and I believe I have what it takes to beat him; I wouldn’t have taken the fight if I didn’t,” said Dickens.
Rigondeaux’s devastating hand speed, lightening quick reactions and thumping shot power are enough to beat any fighter, so it’s hardly surprising that he has been avoided by so many. Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton are the latest to avoid the dangerous 35 year-old but Dickens says there’s no way he’d pass at the chance of testing himself against the world’s best.
He said: “I’ve had a lot of people congratulating me on taking the fight but at the end of the day it’s my job to take fights. Personally, I don’t think you should be praised for having courage in boxing because that’s the game we’re in. All I’ve done is taken a fight and that’s what boxers should do. A lot of boxers are ducking fights at the moment and it’s not good for the sport,”
“Fight fans want to be entertained and I’ll be giving it my best shot on the night. We all know how good Rigondeaux is, he’s a great champion and it will be an honour sharing the ring with him in my own city. This fight is all thanks to Frank Warren, I’m very lucky and blessed to have Frank’s backing for this once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Winning his first 16 fights and collecting the English Super-Bantamweight title along the way, Dickens suffered his first loss to Kid Galahad in a British and Commonwealth title challenge in September 2014. The 24 year-old bounced back and is currently on a five fight unbeaten run, capturing the British title against Josh Wale last March before successfully defending it against Martin Ward in November. The local Scouse hero says his life could have taken a different path if he didn’t have boxing to channel his energy in to.
He said: “I remember walking into the gym for the very first time and thinking ‘I want to be a world champion’. My Dad used to ask me to go down there with him but I was obsessed with football up until the age of twelve. As soon as I hung up my boots and stepped into the ring something came over me. There was a picture of the legendary John Conteh on the wall wearing his WBC belt and I said to my Dad ‘that’s going to be me’,”
“Boxing was an escape from life. I got a massive rush every time I laced up my gloves and I was receiving praise for hard work for the first time in my life so it really drove me on to succeed. The coaches from my youth played a massive role in getting me to where I am today and I’m very thankful to them for giving their time up for free. I wasn’t born in a bad area but there wasn’t much going on there for kids to get involved in once they reached their teens. I was just lucky and blessed that I had the talent to put a pair of gloves on instead of getting involved in petty crime.”
Ticket for ‘A Tale Of Two Cities’ are priced at £40, £60, £80, £100, £150* and are available from: