Fighting chance of a North East boxing title treble

FEARLESS Travis Dickinson is fighting for more than just the English light-heavyweight title against Bob Ajisafe in Sheffield tonight.

FEARLESS Travis Dickinson is fighting for more than just the English light-heavyweight title against Bob Ajisafe in Sheffield tonight. Victory will seal an incredible hat-trick.

Victory will make Dickinson the third North East fighter in 76 days to win his maiden major professional boxing title – and all three came through Birtley Amateur Boxing Club.

Martin Ward started the sequence by beating Jason Booth to the English bantamweight title on September 30.

In the crowd at Hartlepool’s Borough Hall was Jon-Lewis Dickinson, who went one better four weeks later, taking the British cruiserweight title with a unanimous decision over Shane McPhilbin.

Now his younger brother, 24-year-old Travis, is looking to complete the set.

Birtley coach Graeme Rutherford guided all three through the unpaid ranks and thinks at least one will fight for a world title – but Lady Luck may decide who.

He said: “It is like anything, you need a little luck.

“The pro game is dominated by how many tickets you can sell but with the right circumstances all three can go as far as they want.

“I would hope they would go on to challenge for European titles.

“You would expect them to fight for Commonwealth titles and one of the three is going to fight for a world title, although I wouldn’t like to say which one.”

All three are very grateful for Rutherford’s contribution to their early careers and the feeling is mutual from one of the country’s most respected amateur boxing coaches.

Rutherford, who now coaches the Dickinsons’ promising nephew Mark, added: “Martin Ward started off with us after I trained (future national schoolboy champion Danny Lee and the Dickinsons came later on.

“They all came through when I started out and over time I became more experienced. They helped me as a coach as much as I helped them.

“It is testament to Martin and Jon-Lewis how dedicated they are to their sport they’ve been able to win professional titles – and hopefully Travis is going to be next.

“All three had an unquestionable thirst to be the best. T

“They were always really up for coming into the gym to work on things.

“As kids they were the best and they learned then how to handle pressure.”

Handling pressure is something which comes naturally to Travis, according to Rutherford.

He said: “Travis is very heavy-handed, which is unusual for such a big puncher, and he’s fearless as well.

“Sometimes when you walked into the ring with him he’d see you looking a bit nervous and ask, ‘what’s wrong with you? Don’t worry.’”

Dickinson and Ajisafe are both unbeaten, although only Travis has a 100% record with 13 wins to the champion’s nine.

Although this is Dickinson’s first proper title fight he won the made-for-TV Prizefighter, making him and Jon-Lewis the only brothers to do so.

Rutherford added: “Jon-Lewis has a brilliant boxing brain which means he can win any fight.

“It’s easy being in his corner because he can solve any problem.

“Martin Ward has very good fast hands and feet. If you hit Martin once, you won’t hit him again.”


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
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Stuart Rayner
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