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.”