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Jon takes on Dickens of a fight
Jon Fernandes has accepted the fight that no one wanted, writes ADAM LEITCH.
The 29-year-old Southampton boxer will take on James ‘Jazza’ Dickens for the vacant English super bantamweight title in front of an expected 12,000 strong crowd at Liverpool’s Echo Arena on March 30.
Dickens has struggled desperately to get opponents because of the superb promise he has shown over an unbeaten 13 fight pro career.
But Fernandes, left, has grabbed the chance with both hands and, with his Southern Area title not on the line, it seems like the right time to take a chance.
His trainer, Wayne Batten, said: “This is a massive opportunity for Jon.
“We know a lot about Dickens and how good he is and we will have total respect for him, but this is about Jon and what he can do.
“The challenge doesn’t get any tougher than facing him in his hometown of Liverpool. But for Jon this is exactly the type of fight we were hoping would come up and is reward for all his hard work and dedication.
“You are never going to get an easy fight at championship level and, as much as Dickens is unbeaten in 13 as a pro, Jon is unbeaten in ten and has won a title.
“You also have to give Jon respect because a lot of fighters have ducked and avoided this fight, but he has taken the opportunity and we are going up there to win.”
The fight is sure to get plenty of attention, coming as it does in Dickens’ Liverpool backyard and on the undercard of a massive fight night as Tony Bellew closes in on a second World title shot in an official WBC light heavyweight title eliminator against Isaac Chilemba.
There’s also the mouth-watering rematch of the 2012 fight of the year between Derry Mathews and Anthony Crolla for the vacant Commonwealth lightweight title.
British boxing legend Ricky Hatton is managing 21-year-old Dickens and insisted: “This is a massive opportunity for Jazza to win his first professional title in front of his home crowd.
“We’ve had a few problems getting anyone to fight him and I imagine that's been a little bit frustrating for him, but he's got his chance now and I expect him to grab it with both hands.
“I've said before that Jazza is a bit of a dark horse in super-bantamweight division and people like Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton should keep an eye on him. I don’t think it’ll be too long before he’s snapping at their heels.”