Preview: Two new titles on the line in Merthyr on show spearheaded by Davies and Dixon

Preview: Two new titles on the line in Merthyr on show spearheaded by Davies and Dixon

Two new titles will be on the line when Sanigar Events host their first show of the year on Saturday at the Rhydycar Leisure Centre in Merthyr Tydfil.

The International Masters Challenge and British Masters Challenge titles have been endorsed by the British Boxing Board of Control [BBBoC] and will be contested over eight rounds. The newly invented belts are meant to meet the need for titles at the small-hall levels of boxing and appear to be aimed at boxers below Area and domestic championship standard.

It’s understood that the belts are supposed to replace the Professional Boxing Promoters Association’s Masters titles. Initially, those previous titles were used in a similar manner but then farcically introduced Gold, Silver and Bronze versions that saw them de-recognised on BBBoC licensed shows.

Headlining Saturday’s show, Dai Davies (12-24-2, 2KO) will attempt to extend his hometown’s proud fighting history when he appears in Merthyr for just the third time in nine years. The featherweight is set to contest the International Masters Challenge title against Georgia’s Giorgi Gachechiladze (20-21-1, 13KO), the same visitor who was stopped in three rounds on his last visit to Wales at the hands of Gary Buckland in June.

Davies hasn’t fought since suffering a razor thin loss to Barnsley’s Josh Wale in May. The featherweights clashed in a closely contested eliminator for the Commonwealth title, which ended Davies’ three fight winning streak, including a repeat stoppage of fellow Welsh rival Robbie Turley.

Former British and Commonwealth champion Jamie Moore, who was commentating for broadcaster Spike TV, favored Davies but referee John Latham disagreed. Home advantage appeared to swing it for Wale, who was judged to be the winner by a single point on the Dennis Hobson promoted show. Expectedly, Davies disputed the hotly contested decision and the 32-year-old presented a petition to the Commonwealth Boxing Council.

However, the appeal was rejected and Wale dropped a weight division to challenge British super-bantamweight champion James ‘Jazza’ Dickens. Wale, who has a Welsh grandfather, was edged out in another competitive contest and a rematch with Davies has never materialised, leading to a nine-month period of inactivity for ‘Dutters’. It has resulted in a testing period for Davies but the three-time Area champion has continued training with Dai Gardiner and Jason Thomas at Gelligaer Boxing Club.

The other title action comes from Mountain Ash’s Tony ‘The Welsh Terrier’ Dixon (6-0, 1KO), who meets Middlesex’s experienced Ryan Toms (14-12-2, 8KO) in a tasty trade fight. Dixon last fought in October when he out worked a game Daza Usher over the six round distance on a dinner show in London. With only one outing in the last 20 months, he’s likely to be looking to make up for lost time following a hand injury and the birth of his first child.

The super strong welterweight, who trains with Paul Paveltish at Mountain Ash Boxing Club, made a storming start to his paid career. At just 18-years old, Dixon went on the road to beat a trio of opponents with more experience and a combined record of 13 wins, three losses and two draws to earn his turn in the home corner.

When Toms, a 34-year-old southpaw, turned professional, he raced to a nine-fight winning run until his bubble was dramatically burst. In defence of his Southern Area super-welterweight title, Toms was halted by Steve O’Meara inside a round but nine months later, he bounced back to collect the same title with a second round stoppage of Nathan Weise.

The reverse of form was short lived as Toms would only win three of his following 14 fights. The latest win in October did demonstrate Toms’ ability, though. He travelled to the away territory of Brighton, where the locals were tipping their prospect as a future British champion. The party was spoiled when Toms’ southpaw left hook stopped Lloyd Ellett in the sixth of their scheduled eight rounder, handing the contender his first loss in 18 appearances.

Bridgend’s welterweight Richie Canning (3-0), a stablemate of Dixon’s, will feature on the undercard in a four round bout against durable journeyman Ibra Riyaz (4-92-3), who will be making the 100th appearance of his eight year career.

Aberdare’s super-middleweight Morgan ‘Sexual Chocolate’ Jones (5-0, 1KO) will fight for the second time in a fortnight, facing Berkshire’s Charlie Brown (1-1) in his maiden six rounder. Fellow St Joseph’s Boxing Club operator Kyle Jones (4-0), a super-lightweight from Pontypridd, competes in a four rounder against Fonz Alexander (3-27, 1KO).

Completing the card, Mountain Ash’s heavyweight Dorian Darch (10-4, 1KO) aims to make it a hat-trick of consecutive wins against Bulgaria’s inexperienced but dangerous Milen Paunov (2-1, 2KO).

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