Rigondeaux relishing chance to impress on UK debut against Dickens, Flanagan faces Fana
Lee Gormley | July 15, 2016
Guillermo Rigondeaux v Jazza Dickens
- WBA super-bantamweight title fight
- Saturday, July 15th
- Scheduled for: 22:00 BST
- Ice Arena, Cardiff, Wales
- Live on BoxNation
Rigondeaux makes UK debut against Dickens
Two-time Olympic Gold medallist Guillermo Rigondeaux makes his awaited UK debut this Saturday night in Cardiff, as the super-bantamweight world champion defends his WBA ‘Super’ title against Liverpool’s Jazza Dickens.
At the Ice Arena on Welsh soil, Rigondeaux (16-0, 10 KOs) will look to put on a show for the Cardiff crowd on his maiden appearance on these shores, having had the initially scheduled March 12th bout with Dickens (22-1, 7 KOs) postponed due to failure to secure a visa.
The 35-year-old now has his paperwork in order and finally found an opponent willing to step into the ring with him this summer, with Merseysider Dickens aiming for his seventh successive win, but makes a huge step up in class.
Cuban slickster Rigo, who defected back in 2009 and now resides in Miami, enters proceedings as the overwhelming favourite for a 17th straight professional victory and is 5/4 with Coral to outpoint Dickens over 12 rounds.
‘The Jackal’ out to make a UK impact
Rigondeaux enjoyed an illustrious amateur career before turning pro in 2009, racking up an incredible 475 victories from 487 contests and won Gold at both the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, among many other honours.
Since entering the pro ranks he has established himself as one of the pound-for-pound best fighters on the planet, with the undefeated WBA ‘Super’ champion rampantly rallying to prominence at 122lbs.
The slick southpaw known as ‘the Jackal’ has encountered stumbling blocks in his career so far though, with his superior technical abilities causing there to be a lack of willing opponents, while he has struggled to cement a strong fanbase in the United States due to his style.
Northern Ireland’s Carl Frampton was one recently touted foe, but he opted to move up to featherweight to challenge Leo Santa Cruz instead on July 30th, with Rigondeaux next set to take Cardiff by storm.
“I would like to show my respect and gratitude to Dickens for having the courage to take this fight,” stated the Cuban, who is 3/1 for a knockout within rounds 4-6. “Dickens is the only [super-bantamweight] in the world that has the guts to step in the ring with me.
“I’m here and I’m ready to face anyone…”
“All of the others like to talk and talk but they don’t have the courage to actually fight. They know where to find me. I’m here and I’m ready to face anyone in the world. I’m quicker than FedEx and better than UPS.
“The Welsh fans are going to get an amazing show. We had an amazing training camp and I’m really excited to be here, as I know you guys are massive boxing fans and I really appreciate all of the support. I’m ready to go.”
Despite many fighters seeing high risk and very little reward from going toe-to-toe with Rigondeaux, Liverpool’s Dickens has stepped up to challenge the Cuban, who is making his first defence since having the belt returned to him after being declared a ‘champion in recess’ during a long absence.
The 25-year-old southpaw is 11/1 to cause a major upset on Welsh territory and is hoping to enjoy the biggest night of his career on Saturday, having turned to boxing as a youngster to escape from what was a tough upbringing in Liverpool.
“For me boxing was a way out of the life of addiction,” stated Dickens. “I was seeing all sorts of crime every day growing up, seeing things a kid shouldn’t see. I was living in an adult world as a child and boxing was a release for me.
Dickens relishing glorious opportunity
“I could go in the gym and be praised for stuff that I liked doing, praised for hard work, it was nice.
“My parents had problems with addiction, my dad with heroin – that’s thankfully behind him, he has lived to see his grandkids and he’s happy. I am so content now, knowing I have gone from one extreme to the other, from living on the other side of the fence to this, where I am today.”
Dickens will take to the ring at 22/1 to win by KO in what will undoubtedly be the toughest test of his career to date, while Rigondeaux will seek to boost his reputation in the UK with another dazzling display, in order to draw those big-name bouts he craves so much.
Flanagan defends title against Fana
In the co-main event in Cardiff, WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan (3-0, 12 KOs) will make the third defence of his strap against South African challenger Mzonke Fana (33-7, 14 KOs), following success against Liverpool’s Derry Mathews in March.
The unbeaten Manchester fighter secured his current title in July last year when toppling Jose Zepeda, then overcame Diego Magdaleno and Mathews to twice retain it, rising to prominence in the 135lbs division.
Flanagan’s next opponent, hailing from Cape Town, is now 42 years of age and likely to still be virtually unknown to the majority of the Welsh crowd this weekend, though Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera is one former opponent of his.
The reigning lightweight champion is 10/3 to halt proceedings inside rounds 1-3 or the same price to secure a points decision, while veteran foe Fana is 16/1 to spring a huge surprise in his latest outing.
Meanwhile on the undercard, Liam Williams is 5/2 to outpoint Gary Corcoran and retain his British and commonwealth super-welterweight titles, with his bitter rivals entering at 17/2 for a KO success.
There’s no love lost between the two undefeated fighters, having previously nearly come to blows during their face-off, setting up a potential thriller in Wales.
Bradley Skeete also features and the British welterweight champion will face a challenge from Alexandre Lepelley, while Tommy Langford meets Ronny Gabel.