REIGNING British cruiserweight champion Jon-Lewis Dickinson is in line to be the man who brings boxing back to Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena.
Dickinson’s first defence of his crown was achieved on Friday night when he claimed a comfortable unanimous points victory over Sunderland’s David Dolan.
The aim now is to make two further defences before the end of the year to earn the right to keep the coveted Lonsdale belt.
At least one of those contests could be at the Metro Radio Arena, with the Birtley boxer’s manager Frank Maloney keen to push him on to the bigger stages.
Not since Amir Khan fought Dmitriy Salita for the WBA world light welterweight title in 2009 has big time boxing been held on the banks of the Tyne.
Dickinson, though, could be about to change that, with a date in either May or October already earmarked.
“We want to win that Lonsdale Belt outright,” said Maloney.
“I want to bring boxing back to the North-East – and to Rainton Meadows again.
But I would like to take Jon- Lewis to Newcastle. That’s where he wants to fight.”
Dickinson – after his 13th win from 15 fights – will head off on holiday before sitting down with Maloney to put firm plans in place to take his career to the next level.
The British No 1, who claimed his crown by overcoming Shane McPhilibin last October, said: “With hard fights like Friday’s you don’t want to take too many too soon because it takes a lot out of you – not just the fight, the training. I’m off to Egypt for a week’s holiday and ideally I’ll have a fight in May/June and another in October/November.
But that’s all down to Frank Maloney.”
While Dickinson’s future looks bright his defeated challenger has another decision to make. At the age of 33, Dolan’s fifth defeat of his 22-fight career has raised the serious prospect of retirement.
It was Dolan’s third unsuccessful shot at the British crown, having previously lost twice to Ron Norton in January 2010 and February 2009.
Dickinson, who knows the Wearsider well through years of sparring, said: “If you’re not fighting at British level you’re not getting the income.
“It’s a hard sport, especially when you’re not coming out of it with something to get by on. He’s definitely got another fight left in him but that’s what I would be thinking about if I were him.”
Dolan displayed plenty of guts to make sure Dickinson did not have things all his own way on Friday night and fought back well after a seventh round when a strong right hand had him rocked.
The fact he went on to finish the 12 rounds, though, was of little consolation to the former Commonwealth gold medallist, who trailed 118-111, 118-111 and 117-112 on the judges’ score cards in the end.
“I knew Jon-Lewis was a good boxer, I just tried to work him. He will obviously go on to bigger and better things now. I will just have to wait and see what it means for me,” said Dolan.
“I am disappointed with my display but I won’t be rushing into any decisions. Jon-Lewis did the job and won.
“He has had title fights and I have had fights that didn’t really mean a lot since we last met 18 months ago. It showed.
I had an opportunity and I wanted to give it my all.”
Half of Friday night’s show was supposed to have been screened live on Loaded TV (Sky channel 200) but viewers at home were left frustrated when the Dickinson-Dolan fight was only picked up a third of the way through.
Maloney, a sports consultant for Loaded, said: “It was a technical fault with the satellite, it was not Loaded’s fault.”
After the main event, Hartlepool’s super-featherweight Peter Cope, whose straight punching got the edge, entertained his strong support by bagging a 40-37 scorecard over South Shields’ David Lake.
Fishburn’s Gary Fox continued his development with a quick-fire success over Tottenham’s Mark McKray. An early left hook from Fox left McKray shaken, given a count and then a further right hand led to the referee intervening with just 83 seconds gone.
The only other stoppages of the night came from Scarborough’s Danny Price, when he floored Hungary’s Tamas Bajzath inside a round, and Inverness’ undefeated Gary Cornish.
Earlier in the night there had been wins for Jon Lewis’ brother Travis Dickinson, Easington’s Paul Archer, Birtley’s Robert Dixon, Inverness’ Gary Cornish and Spennymoor debutant Ben Jackson.