The FightPost Interviews: Rhiannon Dixon
Seven days a week, often twice a day, Rhiannon Dixon makes the 20-minute trip from her home in Warrington to Blundell’s Boxing Gym in Wigan.
Dixon (2-0) like many in the sport has to work full-time and somehow fit boxing around her job as a pharmacist at Whiston Hospital, a seven-day slog of work and training that highlights her passion and commitment for her day job and her aspiring boxing career.
Dixon flirted with many ideas about a career after school, certainly nothing in the sports world even entered her head at that stage in her life, before settling down to dedicate herself to five years training to be a pharmacist:
“I sort of jumped around with different ideas, there wasn’t one thing I was interested in, I certainly never had a sports career in mind, maybe a Doctor, or something else in medicine, a lawyer even, so I suppose I have followed through on the medicine side.”
Once the decision was made to be a pharmacist Dixon dedicated herself to the intensive training required to qualify:
“It was 4 years at University, then doing a spell at a hospital followed by a final exam, so about 5 years in total. I work full-time Monday to Friday. Work is very good with me, fitting work around my training where they can. It’s really tiring we are up at 5 in the morning to go training, I get changed at the gym to go to work, then I am back training more or less straight after work. I work 5 days but train 7 days a week, it’s mentally really tiring, but you just get used to it.”
Working any life on that sort of schedule is problematic for anyone, let alone someone who wants to compete at the highest end of a professional sport, I asked Dixon if she would ever at any stage contemplate giving up her pharmacist career to focus 100% on boxing.
“I don’t know really I love my job because I feel as though I am making a difference. But when you advance up the ladder in boxing and bigger opportunities come up, I know you have to commit more to the sport. I suppose it is one of those things where I will have to cross that bridge if and when it comes. But I will definitely keep up my registration as a pharmacist.”
Every person has a different story to tell on how they first came to cross normal everyday life to become that rare breed, a fighter. Not for the first time, it is the name of Ronda Rousey that has been mentioned as an inspiration to take up a combat sport, albeit in a completely different one to the former UFC champion:
“I thought Ronda Rousey was just amazing and I also wanted to lose some weight as well. I was put in touch with Lee Blundell and we just clicked straight away. Lee took a liking to me because I was a southpaw like him, he couldn’t believe I hadn’t boxed before. It was probably because I was a dancer, and I could pivot/turn into different positions to throw different shots and combinations.”
Training and sparring are two very different things, the memory of the first time getting hit in the face often never leaves you, Dixon can still vividly remember her very first spar with a professional boxer:
“It was a massive wake up call, it was with Kirstie Bavington, she was a lot bigger than me and she had amateur experience and I didn’t have any. I knew then we were in the professional game now things had suddenly changed, she has helped me out a lot since, she is up for sparring anybody.”
Dixon without any amateur background entered the professional ranks on the back of just 12 fights on the White Collar scene, all wins. The decision to turn professional was a natural one:
“Things were going so well, and we just thought it was the next step, the team believed in me, and so far things are going very well. I don’t enjoy the walking out, I would just prefer to pop up in the ring and just fight”
Cutting weight is one of the hardest aspects of the sport, but Dixon is lucky she doesn’t have to cut much weight to make lightweight, but there are no immediate plans to drop down a division:
“I’m just naturally around the weight, I am just lucky I have to drop a bit of fat that’s all, and all the best fighters seem to be at lightweight. It’s just whatever Lee thinks if I stay where I am or drop down.”
Dixon is an ambassador for Gloves Up Knives Down, a grassroots initiative to get young people off the streets and into boxing clubs.
“I just got a random Instagram message one day asking me to be involved. I hadn’t even had my pro debut then, they asked me to come down and take some pictures and they told me what it was all about. I was working at a school before they messaged me, and a child was asked what his biggest fear was, and it was being stabbed, the school was in a really nice area, it just really shocked me, so when they messaged me about working with the charity I definitely wanted to get involved.”
Despite having a career outside of boxing, it doesn’t stop Dixon having big ambitions in the sport:
“First I want to get more experience, take my time and be the best I can, I have only been boxing 3 or 4 years and hopefully eventually get into a position where I can fight for titles.”
Dixon will have her 3rd professional fight on March 21st in Bolton, and she hopes to put her last fight behind her, where despite the win she found it a frustrating experience.
“I just hope I get someone that comes to fight, my last opponent just didn’t come to fight, I just couldn’t do anything, she came to hold and I didn’t find space for the first two rounds. We just want someone next who will come and fight.”
Women’s boxing is seemingly on the up with more and more making the decision to turn professional and the still embryonic numbers will surely rise over the course of this year.
Dixon is certainly a prospect to keep an eye on, undefeated in every fight she has ever had and despite a brutal schedule, which she does without complaint, we might very well have another British talent who will be pushing for major honours over the next few years.