Jazza Dickens expects tougher Kid Galahad matchup than when they sparred
In 2013, two talented young pros and members of boxing’s ‘Who Needs Him Club’ met at the Magna Centre in Rotherham.
Sheffield’s Kid Galahad stopped Liverpool’s Jazza Dickens in 10 rounds for the vacant British junior featherweight title and eight years on they meet again, this time as one of the featured bouts in Matchroom’s Fight Camp on August 7.
Dickens is now 30-3 (11 knockouts) – he was 16-0 when they first met – and they’ve both lost world title fights since. In several weeks, they clash for the vacant IBF featherweight belt, and they’ve not only learned from fighting one another but they’ve sparred plenty behind closed doors, too, over the years.
“We know each other, we’ve got a lot of history, we’ve done a lot of sparring since we fought back in 2013,” said Dickens.
So, is Galahad a better fighter than the version he’s already faced?
“Anyone would be,” Dickens continued. “If you’re still working and still learning your craft every day, obviously you’re going to be better and I’m sure he’s the same. I’d expect him to have grown the same way I have.”
For the Liverpool man, who is advised by former world cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew, they have not shown each other too much working together in the gym as Jazza always thought it was inevitable their paths would cross once more.
“We’ve always known in the back of our minds that it’s going to happen again,” Dickens added. “I’ve certainly known it would happen again but we’ve been sensible and we’ve used each other because we’re the best sparring both of us can find and it’s been a pleasure to work together. There are no harsh feelings.”
Although they have traded the odd insult on social media, Dickens insists he’s just doing what the sport requires of its participants in building fighters, fighters and attractions – going back and forth with the Sheffield man in front of thousands of online fans.
“It’s the world we live in and we’ve got to play the game,” he went on. “I don’t want to be stuck behind like a caveman so it’s the world we live in.”
It’s a sport he knows and cares deeply about, too, despite a career of hard knocks.
“I love it,” he said of boxing. “It’s all I know to be honest. My career has gone in reverse. It was tough [at the start] because I didn’t have peace of mind and I didn’t know if another opportunity was going to come and it was always the case that we didn’t know what was coming next but now it all sort of fits. I’m lucky to have the team around me that I’ve got so I can solely enjoy my career.”
That team includes the aforementioned Bellew, who Dickens has a personal and professional relationship with, spanning well over a decade.
“He’s done more than I could ever have imagined and he’s done it for nothing as well,” stated Jazza. “It means a lot to me that he’s done it and it means even more that he’s done it out of his own good will.”
And that’s led Dickens to Fight Camp and not only an opportunity for a world title but the chance to impress on a show that’s in demand from fellow fighters who want to get involved in those open-air shows.
“I watched it last year and thought, ‘I’d love to box there, with a crowd,’ and I watched [Sam] Eggington and [Ted] Cheeseman and thought it was such a shame that they didn’t have a crowd but my team and Tony Bellew have had the chance to work with Matchroom and I’m very lucky.”
Dickens will be hoping it’s finally his time. He turned pro in 2011 and has boxed the likes of Guillermo Rigondeaux, Martin Ward, Thomas Patrick Ward, Leigh Wood and Ryan Walsh.
Nothing’s been given to him and he agrees he’s learned many things the hard way.
“Yeah, you’ve got to learn,” he said, unsure whether this, at the age of 30, is his last shot. “Defeat for me is the best way to learn because it hurts so much and it means you’ve got to get better. Nothing gives you a kick up the arse like defeat.”