DILLON: "I WANTED TO DO A TRADITONAL ROUTE"
Tue, 06 Feb 2024
British Super-Feather champ faces 'Bomber' Bellotti live on DAZN
British Super-Featherweight Champion Liam Dillon has a chance to add the Commonwealth Title to his growing collection of belts when he faces a resurgent Reece Bellotti at the top of a Matchroom NXTGEN card at Indigo at The O2 this Saturday February 10, live worldwide on DAZN.
Chingford’s Dillon (13-0-1, 3 KOs), a former Southern Area and English Champion at 130lbs, claimed the vacant British Title via an all-action split decision win against Qais Ashfaq in Newcastle last July – dedicating the career-best win to his late sister Lauren.
Now the 28-year-old, who train's out of RJ's Boxing Gym in Brentwood under the guidance of Ross Pearce, gets the opportunity to headline a Eddie Hearn-promoted card against one of his "favourite fighters" - with the opportunity to collect the fourth title of his pro career since turning over in April 2017.
“I wanted to do the traditional route," said Dillon. "I didn’t really want to skip belts. I think boxing is just about climbing the corporate ladder. I won the Southern Area, what’s next? English. Won the English then I got a Commonwealth Eliminator. Then that earned me a shot at the British Title. Now I’m getting the Commonwealth, so yeah it has been the traditional route. They’re the four main belts you want to win first before you start pushing on to International or World Titles.
“I’m mentally and physically in the best shape of my life. I can’t wait for this now; it’s a massive opportunity and I’m really looking forward to it. Winning the British Title was always my boyhood dream. They were always the best fights growing up. To unify it with the Commonwealth is even bigger, especially because I had such a hard fight in a Commonwealth Title Eliminator before I won the British.
“Reece was one of my favourite fighters growing up. I remember doing an interview years ago and I remember saying that Reece Bellotti was my favourite domestic fighter. He’s had a few losses but he still probably is one of my favourite fighters. He comes to fight, he gives it a go, he’s on a really good streak at the moment so that’s just really spurred me on more. To be at the Indigo at The O2 with all of my fans, I just can’t wait to put on a show. I think it’s going to be a great fight."
Watford’s Bellotti (17-5, 14 KOs) is enjoying a three-fight winning streak across 2022 and 2023, with the ‘Bomber’ picking up the vacant Commonwealth Super-Featherweight Title last time out at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool by stopping Aqib Fiaz in eight rounds – the Oldham fighter’s first professional loss.
Dillon knows that he will have to be at his very best if he is to avoid a similar fate to Fiaz, and the respectful East Londoner says he is prepared to do whatever it takes to get his hand raised after what he predicts will be the toughest test of his promising career to date.
“I don’t know what he’s going to do," said Dillon. "I feel like he’s got a few tricks up his sleeve for me. I’m just going to go for it - do what I do best. I find I fight better when I’m enjoying myself so there’s no point trying to do something that I don’t enjoy doing. I might as well just go in there and have a fight and if he does the same then he does the same and I think it will be great for everyone to watch.
“I think the British Title is a belt everyone wants. I don’t know if it’s going to be his last chance to win it, that’s not my position to say. He’s had a shot at the British before, he fell short. I remember watching that fight and thinking he might have nicked it – I think it was a split decision loss. He’s earned the shot again, he has definitely earned it as well coming off three massive wins. I know he’s going to give it all he’s got. Same here.
“He’s mandatory for the British and I’m mandatory for the Commonwealth. I’m the man in the way of what he wants and he’s the man in the way of what I want. I’m used to fighters punching hard. I’ve always been quite tough. I respect everyone’s power. He’s got a dig on him and he’s shown it - he’s got a high knockout ratio.
"I just concentrate on the man in front of me. I see it being a hard fight. I have no doubt that Reece is going to give me the hardest fight of my career. He’s experienced, he has punch power - I think he’s going to give me my hardest fight. Whatever I’ve got to do to get my hand raised, I’ll do it.”
Dillon vs. Bellotti headlines Matchroom's latest NXTGEN card, exciting 21-year-old Cameron Vuong (3-0, 2 KOs) gets a fourth pro outing against the experienced Ishmael Ellis (14-7) over eight rounds at Lightweight, Crystal Palace Light-Heavyweight contender Craig Richards (17-3-1, 10 KOs) makes his long-awaited return to the ring in a ten-round contest with Glasgow's Boris Crighton (12-4, 7 KOs), rising Watford Super-Flyweight star Shannon Ryan (6-0) faces Wakefield's Jasmina Zapotoczna (6-0) for the WBA International Title, Takeley Cruiserweight John Hedges (8-0, 2 KOs) meets Germany’s Erdogan Kadrija (20-5, 12 KOs) over eight rounds, Greenwich Middleweight Jack Oliphant makes his professional debut against Swindon's Jensen Irving (4-5) over four rounds, Birmingham Lightweight Ibraheem Sulaimaan (2-0, 1 KO) looks to maintain his unbeaten start to life in the paid ranks against France's Jordan Patrick Tomosoni (4-0-1, 1 KO) and German Heavyweight prospect Emmanuel Odiase (1-0, 1 KO) fights for the second time as a pro against Belgium's Amine Boucetta (8-9).
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