‘’With Chelsea… Things can only get better!’’ Unlike his beloved football team, Super Lightweight contender, Liam Dillon will be hoping to finish 2018 with some silverware in his trophy cabinet…
The 4-0 Goodwin promoted fighter has quietly gone about business in his first year as a professional boxer. Frequent dates at York Hall kept the 22-year-old year busy in 2017, providing the perfect christening into the paid ranks. Four weeks from his first outing of 2018, the London boy exclusively takes FightTalk.net from past, to present. Sharing on all aspects of his boxing career, his idols, and his ambitions… This, is the Liam Dillon story.
‘’In my younger years… I had a good upbringing. Most of my childhood I was playing football until I started boxing, at Waltham Forest ABC when I was 13. Since then I became obsessed with it. Training, watching it, the lot!’’
Like most young men working the small hall circuits as up-and-coming prospects, the life of a boxer is far less glamorous than that portrayed on the bi-weekly Sky Sports edition of Fight Night. The physical nature of manual labour can often prove fruitful for young fighters acclimatising to the huge strength difference that distinguishes the professional and amateur game.
‘’A usual day for me is wake up, go running or for a cycle. Go to work. I do scaffolding. I then train down at Sparta or sparring somewhere else. I sometimes spar down at Hoddesdon ABC or Pro SW in Loughton.’’
An uprising of exciting fighters from the Sparta 300 Gym in Chingford has become apparent of late. Southern Area Bantamweight champion, Matthew Chanda patiently waits for his shot at the British Title, whilst Boy Jones Jr continues to excite at 130lbs. Iron sharpens iron, and the daily grind pushes these hopeful fighters alongside the determined Dillon, each day.
‘’I train at Team Sparta in Chingford. It’s a great little gym with a good atmosphere. My coaches Steve Kipps and Bob Kipps are a father and son duo. They’ve been coaching many a year! They have trained fighters at world level. You can’t buy the experience they’ve got.’’
The Kipps famously trained Hackney Middleweight Jason Matthews, who famously knocked out Ryan Rhodes in 1999, to clinch the WBO Middleweight title in one of the great nights of boxing at the Doncaster Dome. More recently, the Kipps masterminded the path of Bantamweight, Ian Napa. With a record 19-10, Napa left the sport dignified, boasting British and European titles at times in a truly fascinating career.
‘’Ian Wilson the owner is a brilliant trainer and very technical. He has put a lot of effort and support into me. Another trainer, Pat Sandy, is a brilliant PT. He really puts you through you’re paces.
The experience is invaluable. The trust in the team is undoubted. It seems Liam Dillon truly is home at the Sparta Gym. A close-knit bond between trainers and fighters, working ferociously. The Spartan Army is assembling…
‘’Again, my stablemate, Matthew Chanda. A very talented fighter. I have sparred many rounds with him. He always gives me advice after.’’
Whilst team mates are always important, boxing is a single player game; Liam Dillon recognises this, as he reflected maturely on his first 12 months as a professional boxer.
‘’I’ve had a good first year as a pro. Finished 4-0 and I boxed a few tough opponents. I’ve learned to take my time instead of rushing in. I’ve learnt a lot more about more about my training. There are better ways and better ways to handle nutrition.’’
The rules are more stringent. The diet is stricter. The runs are longer. Everything about professional boxing is merciless. It is the motivation to succeed that pushes fighters. The motivation to become a champion. So, I asked Liam… ‘Who inspires you?’
‘’The fighter’s that inspire me? I like watching Mikey Garcia and Oscar Valdez. I like their styles, that’s how I aim to fight.’’
Believing in his ability and modelling himself on some of the most vicious champion’s in boxing today, the path for Dillon seems set. The rest is up to him. Hundreds of men across the country are in his position, readying themselves for similar step’s up in their own respective boxing careers. So, what makes Liam Dillon different? The confidence? The strength of his team? The desire to be tested in the ring? You decide…
‘’I hope to have a Southern Area title around my waist by the end of 2018 and remain undefeated.’’
The learning curve in the fledgling career of Liam Dillon continues the 10th March. The humbling grounds of York Hall once more play the host to the young apprentice, who faces off against the durable and familiar figure of journeyman, Kristian Laight.
If what people are saying about Dillon are true, then the 140lbs prospect’s next outing should be a routine affair… But what lies ahead is far more interesting. Currently 22-years-old, with ambitions of his first title before his next birthday, Liam Dillon is pleading at every opportunity to be tested. Liam Dillon is one to watch for 2018.
Follow Liam’s journey on Instagram: @LiamTaz
Written by Tom Humber