Boxer & Pundit
The Golden Contract: Tony Bellew backs Jazza Dickens to win the featherweight tournament
Tonight, 8pm, Sky Sports Action
Last Updated: 05/10/19 12:12am
MTK Global’s Golden Contract this Friday on Sky Sport has captured the attention of the entire boxing community and one ardent observer will be former world champion, Tony Bellew.Since retiring from the sport last November following a defeat to Oleksandr Usyk, Bellew has dedicated some of his time to managing boxers, and one of those fortunate to be the recipient of his wisdom is Liverpool's Jazza Dickens, who enters the tournament as one of the favourites.
A former British champion at super-bantamweight, Dickens is now operating at featherweight, and his experience in the sport has saw him share the ring with a number of high-class operators including Kid Galahad and Guillermo Rigondeaux.
He's a fighter with a lot of experience behind him now and although there's been a few bumps along the way, he's never once let it get in the way of his ultimate goal.
Tony Bellew on Jazza Dickens
Now under the tutelage of Derry Mathews and Georgie Vaughan, big things are expected of Dickens in this competition and his manager believes he has what it takes to go far.
"This tournament from MTK Global is the perfect platform for Jazza to show everyone what he's about," said Bellew when speaking exclusively to Sky Sports.
"It's eight hungry fighters, all from different backgrounds, and they all want the same thing. MTK are handing out a great opportunity to whoever wins this tournament because their lives will change forever after signing a big deal with a massive promoter, and I know Jazza can be the one to win it.
"He's a fighter with a lot of experience behind him now and although there's been a few bumps along the way, he's never once let it get in the way of his ultimate goal.
"He's a fighter who wants to be the very best he can, and this tournament will give him the opportunity to do so. He's had a good camp, he's got a decent draw, and now he has to go in there and box to the best of his ability.
"This competition can be so good for Jazza and I truly believe it'll bring the best out of him as he knows what's at stake."
Elsewhere in the tournament, a number of names have emerged as potential victors with a congested field of fighters all believing they have what it takes to succeed.
Ryan Walsh and Leigh Wood enter the event in great form thanks to excellent showings earlier this year, and David Oliver Joyce, an outstanding Irish amateur, hopes to replicate his unpaid career in the professional ranks.
Bellew is impressed with the talent that is on offer but has no doubt that Dickens can be the last man standing.
"There's a lot of fighters in there that I like, and I lot of fighters that I know well. Leigh Wood has impressed me when I've watched him, Ryan Walsh has been around a long time, there's a lot of talk about Tyrone McCullagh who's up in Scotland with Danny Vaughan.
"These are all good fighters who are hungry and desperate to push on, and Jazza has to match them every single step of the way. It promises to be a good night of boxing at the York Hall, but I believe that Jazza will look brilliant and get better as the tournament moves on."
Golden Contract Featherweight Draw
|Leigh Wood||vs||David Oliver Joyce|
|Jazza Dickens||vs||Carlos Ramos|
|Hairon Socarras||vs||Ryan Walsh|
|Tyrone McCullagh||vs||Razaq Najib|
Andy Clarke's verdict
Ramos has won a Spanish title as well as the EU title, claiming that Spanish featherweight strap by stopping a Basque fighter in Ibon Larrinaga in the seventh round on Basque territory in Bilbao last November, six months after Larrinaga had taken Michael Conlan the distance over eight.
He's also signed with Sergio Martinez's Maravillabox promotional company so has some proper backing. He did a bit of work in a sweatsuit before the draw, in plain view of everyone, and he's been wandering around in a sweatsuit for a lot of the week but it was difficult to know if that was some kind of bluff or whether he did have a bit of a problem with the weight. At the check weight on Tuesday he was just 2lbs over and looked good.
Dickens looked super-relaxed before, during and after the draw; he's boxed on big stages and looks like he's relishing the opportunity. He knows that he'll be expected to win but insists that he'll thrive off that expectation. He's won a British title at super-bantamweight, challenged for a world title at the same weight and is the second most experienced man in the field behind Ryan Walsh.
Dickens has been 10 rounds three times and 12 rounds twice, Ramos has been 12 rounds once.
Dickens' lead trainer is Derry Mathews, working alongside Georgie Vaughan (who trained Derry). Ramos is with Tinin Rodriguez, who trains Angel Moreno (who we saw vs Charlie Edwards in March, and also Kiko Martinez).
Watch The Golden Contract featherweight quarter-finals from 8pm on Friday on Sky Sports Action.