James ‘Jazza’ Dickens says he will stop Martin Ward when they rematch for the vacant British Super Bantamweight Title on July 27.
As the former champion, Dickens defended the belt against Ward, 26-4-1 (5), in 2015, beating the County Durham fighter on a split-decision, in a bloody battle that saw Martin suffer cuts from head clashes.
Less than two years later and Jazza lost his British Title to Martin’s younger brother, Tommy, after an accidental head clash saw their fight stopped and the Northeast man winning a technical decision.
Now, with Tommy, 23-0 (3), having vacated the Lonsdale Belt to concentrate on securing a world title shot, Jazza and Martin go head-to-head again at the Rainton Meadows Arena – with Tommy also co-headlining in an IBF European Super Bantamweight Title against Spain’s Alvaro Rodriguez, 8-1-1 (1).
Ahead of the British Title encounter, with Ward’s camp already urging the referee to be vigilant about head clashes, Liverpool’s Dickens says he won’t be leaving anything to chance and will finish the contest early.
“He’s a good fighter; I really rate him,” said Dickens, 23-3 (8). “He’s got a good work rate and I expect a tough night, the same as last time. He’s fought for the European Title since, and we’ve both fought for world titles. I’m looking to win the British Title back, so it’s going to be competitive. Neither of us can afford to lose.
“It was a close fight last time, but it was in his back garden. You get close fights away from home, don’t you? I won the fight though, and I felt comfortable in there. I was happy with my performance last time and I’m looking forward to going one further this time.
“In fights, I’ve had four head clashes. Two times I’ve cut, and two times against the Ward brothers they’ve cut. So, it’s just a coincidence. When I fought Tommy, he was complaining to the referee, and the referee was on my case. Tommy was flying in with his face and got cut, then he started complaining to the referee. If the ref thought it was a foul, he’d have disqualified me, but he never.
“That’s the way they are, if they want to complain - why don’t they get their hands up, and stop running in with their faces? The way I see it, if someone runs at me face-first, then I’ll protect myself and turn away. They should be pointing the finger at themselves because it’s no coincidence they have the same style and both keep getting cut.
“I couldn’t care less about fighting away from home. All I care about is bringing the British Title back home. Training is going perfect. I’m going to stop him, that’s how I see the fight going. This time around I’m going to stop him; I’ve trained too hard not to. I’m not going to leave it in the judge’s hands.”