Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The Man Woth the Iron Fist Inside a Golden Glove

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

The Man Woth the Iron Fist Inside a Golden Glove

Article excerpt

Byline: By John Gibson

The ABA Championships are one of the most prestigious and enduring sporting events of this country's rich history.

Dating back through the mists of time to 1881, when upright gentlemen congregated in London and fought for honour not purse, they have survived two World Wars and a thousand skirmishes to abolish the noble art of self defence.

The glowing history of the ABAs is best served by glancing through its pantheon of champions ( men who have graduated to the professional ranks and ultimate glory, many as world title holders.

Allow me to sprinkle stardust with no apologies for the length of the roll of honour: Randolph Turpin; Dave Charnley; Henry Cooper; Howard Winstone; Walter McGowen; Terry Spinks; Alan Minter; Ken Buchanan; John H Stracey; John Conteh; Charlie Magri; Jim Watt; Terry Marsh; Chris Finnegan; Herol Graham; Nigel Benn; Frank Bruno; Joe Calzaghe and Ricky Hatton.

For 115 years from a small beginning with titles at only four weights, a five shillings entry fee, and a silver cup worth five guineas, the ABA Championships have year by year extended the list of achievement by proud participants.

This 12 months that championship parade included a 20-year-old Geordie lad, a boxer with a double-barrelled name which allows him to stand out from the masses.

Jon-Lewis Dickinson achieved his dream 11 days ago by lifting the ABA cruiserweight crown, anointing him amateur champion of England when, at York Hall, Bethnal Green, he swept away the challenge of three-time finalist Mark Redhead.

It seems one day soon younger brother Travis will follow Jon-Lewis on to the ABA honours board.

Last Tuesday, with his brother ringside, 18-year-old Travis became Britain's under-19 champion by claiming the Boys Clubs title ( a massive stepping-stone to future success.

The fighting Dickinsons, from Edmondsley near Sacriston and who box out of the renowned Birtley club, are warriors indeed.

Yet outside of the roped square that is his business office the young man facing me is polite, articulate and devoid of any tell-tale signs of bruising conflict. He is also fiercely ambitious.

He said: "I have been obsessed with winning the ABAs and have thought of nothing else. Now I have made it I will sit down with my coach Ronnie Rowe in the New Year and decide where we go next.

"Travis joins the senior ranks next season and we both want to win an ABA title at the same time. That would be extra special.

"Apart from that I have to think about the Olympic Games in Beijing in two years' time and 2012 in London. I will only be 26 then and could easily be at my peak ( if I can keep my enthusiasm and drive going.

"However, long-term the ultimate dream is to turn professional and win big titles. Every boxer, I should think, has the same mindset. …

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