Rhiannon Dixon: A New Beginning
There will be many eyes focused on Saturday night as a domestic light-heavyweight showdown with world title implications headlines in the O2 Arena in London. The show also features Chantelle Cameron defending her world super-lightweight titles and fighting with much frustration over recent events. On the same card, Ellie Scotney will look to take one final step before she gets her world title opportunity later this year.
But 24 hours before Matchroom take their product to London, they have another show on Friday night in Spain that will go under the radar in comparison. On the Spanish show is an undefeated lightweight prospect that gets her first real test in Bilbao against an opponent with a matching record.
Rhiannon Dixon (4-0) now recovered from an operation on her left hand faces the unbeaten Moroccan Mahjouba Oubtil as she looks to make up for lost time. A frustrated fighter for much of the last few years, Dixon will now look to stay active and build on her considerable promise and talent.
After a short unbeaten run on the White-Collar scene, Dixon turned professional in 2019. A terrestrial TV debut put Dixon immediately in the spotlight and she ended her opening year in the paid ranks with a 2-0 resume. When the Pandemic stopped everything, Dixon focused on the day job as a pharmacist on the Covid wards at Whiston Hospital in Rainhill, Prescot on Merseyside. Boxing is tough, but her experience on those wards at that time was unimaginable to most.
But as the world slowly got back to normal, Dixon got her boxing career up and running again. The time away saw changes in the Dixon inner circle. The former world champion Anthony Crolla was now training the Warrington prospect, and Dixon quickly saw improvements in her game.
A return last September in Bolton saw Dixon get some of her momentum back, but she injured her left hand in the process. With a Matchroom debut looming in October, Dixon tried to work through the injury. But when no opponent could be found for the planned fight in Liverpool, Dixon was only a spectator come fight night. But the Matchroom debut finally came in Manchester in December, and despite fighting through pain Dixon moved to 4-0 in the show opener.
Dixon will get an opponent on Friday who should come with more expectations of winning and not merely one of survival. The extra ambition should allow Dixon to showcase more of her talents. The Crolla protege was hugely disappointed with her performance in Manchester, she will look to put that right in Spain. But her self-critique was too harsh, an unwilling opponent and fighting through injury, Dixon did more than enough to suggest her future is bright. But you sense Dixon will want to impress on her first fight on foreign soil.
Many in the sport hail Dixon as a serious prospect, Eddie Hearn signing her so early in her career is telling. At 27, Dixon has time and plenty of it, and the delay in her career could turn out to be of great benefit for her.
Friday is a new beginning, and with a few more fights this year, all the frustrations of the past few years will be a thing of the past. Dixon is still something of a hidden talent, a prospect not yet known to the masses. But that could be about to change incredibly quickly.
Photo Credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom