Rhiannon Dixon: “I know that I do carry power.”

Rhiannon Dixon: “I know that I do carry power.”

As our Zoom call connected in some kind of harmony, I had to sit and wait for the interview to start. It’s not that Rhiannon Dixon wasn’t ready, it’s not as though she wasn’t talking. She was. It was just a few days removed from her latest appearance inside a boxing ring and the unbeaten lightweight prospect had a few things to get off her chest. Frustrations with online critique, some of that critique came by way of delusion, some of it through uneducated comments. Either way, Dixon let loose.

Dixon unleashed those frustrations with some force and the odd swear word or ten. It was a good job I caught her on a good day. I listened, in truth, I was too scared not to. Dixon had made a successful trip to Bilbao in Spain as she advanced her professional resume to 5-0 with a unanimous points win over the former Olympian Mahjouba Oubtil. Despite certain criticism from elsewhere, Dixon told FightPost she was pleased with her night’s work:

“Looking at her amateur record I shouldn’t have even been in the ring with her she should have blown me over. When people said it was scrappy and I got hit too much I didn’t go over to Spain to fight some journeywomen. After the fight, Ross and I sat down and we said it was a really tough fight that, and Ross said he knew but he didn’t want to say anything. We were laughing about it but it was a hard fight and looking back now I am really glad I did it.”

There have always been rave reviews about the potential of the former White-Collar fighter. Those in the know, have constantly told me, that they know. But a certain type of opponent will come with more ambition to survive than thrive, making it difficult to look good against them. Oubtil came with an unbeaten 4-0 record herself and posed Dixon plenty of problems before losing her unbeaten record to the Warrington prospect. At times she has been her own worst critic, and Dixon has been disappointed with her two previous fights. But this was different, clearly satisfied with her performance, Dixon can take much comfort from overcoming her first real test in the professional ranks:

“Yeah, I was pleased with my performance overall. I could have been a little busier. There were times I got caught a little too much but it is a boxing match I am going to get hit. Like I have said in other interviews, these journeywomen don’t make you look good, she came to win and brought out a better side of me because she took risks trying to win. I know that I do carry power and that’s why I put her down three times although the referee didn’t count one of them.”

Fighting on foreign soil is always a venture of much concern. Hometown decisions are often the least of the problems an away fighter faces. The referee had a strange unconvincing night and left Team Dixon with fears that they were looking for excuses to disqualify their fighter. Dixon had a point harshly taken away for alleged illegal use of the head, prompting the corner to vent their frustrations at the referee:

“He kept warning me but I didn’t know what he was warning me for. I said is it my head but I’m not even headbutting her. But then he took the point off me and I thought it was so funny because I felt like a naughty kid at school. But then after the fight he came over and asked me for a picture.”

It was in many ways, her first proper fight. Overcoming different kinds of adversity before extending her winning run to five, Dixon herself knows she got what she needed out of the fight:

“I dealt with a lot of adversity and I thought I dealt with it really well. I really enjoyed the fight, I thought I bet I looked dead hard.”

There is talk of titles for 2023, and despite her relative inexperience that doesn’t look too much of a stretch. Titles at Commonwealth and European level are more than realistic ambitions for the next 18 months or so, before an assault on world titles after that. Dixon is only 27, and is still learning but has time to develop at her pace. The fighter herself is level-headed enough to know there is no rush:

“I’ve got one more 6 rounder and then two 8 rounders to come. Hopefully, I get them done this year. People can say I have no amateur experience and all that. But I do want to take my time and not rush for world titles because I am learning on the job. I am pleased with how I am progressing, but I feel you only put on better performances when you fight better opponents and I think I proved that against Oubtil. When you fight 4 or 6 rounders you only get told last minute who you are fighting so you don’t have time to prepare for them. When you get to the higher levels and you get a proper 8-week training camp that is when you can show how good you are. Some people will think I am not ready, but I am looking at titles for next year.”

We have only seen a glimpse of the potential of Rhiannon Dixon. The Pandemic and then a broken hand, which needed surgery earlier this year, have restricted her development and activity since 2020. But with the hand holding up in her fight in Spain, injuries hopefully, are now in the rear view mirror. The plan is for two or three more fights this year, regional titles next year and world titles potentially after that. Under the tutelage of the former world champion Anthony Crolla and with regular sparring partners of the likes of world champion Natasha Jonas and amateur star Hannah Robinson, Dixon is in safe hands and around an environment that will allow her to grow as a fighter. That growth has every chance to turn the prospect into a champion.

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