Celtic challenger Dixon doesn’t want it easy

Celtic challenger Dixon doesn’t want it easy

Mountain Ash’s Tony Dixon (7-0, 2KO) has never had it easy and finds himself in another risky test tonight but the ‘Welsh Terrier’ is exactly where he wants to be.

The welterweight is set to fight for his first legitimate title as a professional against Belfast’s brawler Paddy Gallagher (9-2, 5KO) at the Ice Arena Wales in Cardiff Bay, supporting the first defence of IBF world bantamweight champion Lee Haskins.

At just 23-years-old and eight fights in to his career, Dixon will take on an opponent with a winning record for the sixth time and the reward will be the vacant Celtic belt, last owned by Maesteg’s Jason Cook in 2014.

The 10 round meeting with Gallagher adds depth to Cyclone Promotions’ well-matched maiden event in Wales and will be broadcast on Spike TV (Sky Ch. 160). On a night featuring at least four other potential candidates for Fight of the Night, Dixon believes he couldn’t be more ready to stamp his footprint on the show.

He said: “It’s all gone great. Training’s been hard but I’ve done all the hard work now. This is the good part – fighting, its time to fight.

“It’s nice fighting at home for a change. You can get the support around you and it helps a lot. Sometimes, it can build up a bit more stress with the tickets and stuff but apart from that, it’s great to be at home, especially on a show like this.

When Dixon ditched the vest and headgear to join the paid code, he travelled all over the country with long-term trainer Paul ‘Pebbles’ Paveltish. It was a decision taken because Dixon didn’t have a notable amateur pedigree that could grant a chance of being developed at home.

Although Dixon was appearing in the away corner, he wasn’t willing to fulfill the journeyman role. Instead, he sprung a hat-trick of upset victories over prospects in Doncaster, Essex and Sunderland and credits that education for preparing him for opponents like Gallagher.

Dixon said: “It’s pointless having easy fights and more easy fights, then you come up against somebody that’s willing to hit you back and you’re not ready.

“At the end of the day, if you try to jump up, you’re going to struggle, aren’t you? If you take it step, by step, by step, then it’ll be easier for you in the end.”

On the other hand, Gallagher represented his country as an amateur at a respectable worldwide level and turned over with a Commonwealth Games gold medal in his trophy cabinet. It led to an appearance in the quick fix Prizefighter format, live on Sky Sports and in with a chance of making a major breakthrough.

It ended with Gallagher being the only boxer in the tournament’s 31-event history to lose twice on the same night – being given a chance to re-enter the tournament when Eric Ochieng collapsed after their quarter-final. It stalled the progress of “Pat-Man” and inactivity ensued, leading to a frustrating period when he seriously considered retirement.

Dixon doesn’t know much of Gallagher’s history and with respect, doesn’t care. He said: “I don’t know nothing about Paddy Gallagher. I was offered a fight, I took it because I ain’t gonna avoid anyone. Anybody who wants to fight me can fight me and that’s it really.

“I leave the scouting to my training team, I just do my business in the gym and in the ring when we get in there.”

In preparation for Gallagher, Dixon has taken two weeks leave from his day job as a plasterer. The Welshman believes that the unpaid break from the nine-to-five slog demonstrates his commitment and just wishes it will all be worth it.

Dixon said: “It’s been brilliant to have the last few weeks off work, I can’t thank my supporters and sponsors enough for helping me. They’ve helped me do it and train as good as I can. Hopefully, I can get the win for all of us now and it pays off.

“I normally start work at 8am and I finish at 4pm. I go to my dogs, then the gym, then from there to sort my kids out and it’s like that every day of the week. It’s non-stop for me.”