JON-LEWIS DICKINSON is hoping a successful British-title defence this weekend will enable him to step up to European level before the end of the year.

Dickinson will win the Lonsdale Belt outright if he sees off Neil Dawson in a British Cruiserweight title fight on the undercard of Stuart Hall and Martin Ward’s world-title bill at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena.

The Birtley-based 27-year-old claimed the British title when he beat Shane McPhilbin in Liverpool in 2012, and has staged successful defences against David Dolan and Mike Stafford.

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Dawson’s 12-2 record makes him a tricky opponent, but Dickinson is hoping a victory against the Yorkshireman will enable him to set his sights on bigger prizes later this year.

“My first goal was to win the Lonsdale Belt outright, so even now I’ve not really thought beyond that,” said the North-Easterner. “All I wanted was to get that belt for the rest of my life. If I start looking at other routes, there’s the possibility of not getting that belt and you can miss your chance.

“I’ve done what I wanted to and gained experience with the fights I’ve had. Once this fight’s out of the way, I’ll be looking to Europe and the world.”

A world title probably felt a long way away when Dickinson was staging his two previous British-title defences at Rainton Meadows Arena, but Saturday’s contest, in front of an anticipated audience of more than 6,000, will whet his appetite for more high-profile bouts in the future.

A few minutes after his own fight comes to an end, Dickinson will watch his friend and training partner Ward take to the ring against Hall, and having progressed along the same trajectory as both boxers in the past, the cruiserweight is hoping to emulate them by fighting at world level himself.

“Sometimes, you think the world title’s a long way away, but then you look at the two lads,” he said. “Stuey Hall’s won the world title and now Martin Ward’s fighting for it, so it’s not really that much of a big step. That’s what I’ll be concentrating on doing after I win this belt outright.

“I’ve trained with Martin since I was 14 down at Birtley ABC. We went through the junior and senior (amateur) championships together. When we turned pro, we went different ways, but we’ve remained close friends.

“To be fighting on the same bill together - and not even just us but also the likes of Bradley Saunders, who was always a team-mate of ours, and Frankie Gavin, who I know pretty well and trained with for England - it feels like our eras have come together. To be having a big show together in the Arena is great.”