REDDITCH fighter Carl Dickens is setting his sights on a title challenge this year after proving his career is far from finished.
Dickens ended a nine-month absence from the ring to defeat Robert Studzinski in a four-round middleweight contest in Solihull last week.
Dickens prevailed on points but felt he also made a point in adding some style to his usual steely performance against the Welsh-based Pole.
Dickens had taken a break since losing a British Challenge title bout to Sam Wall last May and, having got married, focused on life outside the fight game.
But the inner fire still burns brightly and now training at the Eastside gym, alongside the Brum fight scene’s rising stars such as Sam Eggington, Carl Cunningham and Don Broadhurst, has provided even more of a spark.
“I took some time out of boxing after my title fight in May. Some people might have thought I had packed it in but I‘m far from finished,” said the 32-year-old, who hails from Wynyates.
“I want to fight for titles. I want to get a shot at the British Challenge title and then the Midlands title. Last weekend against Robert was a small step in terms of taking the road to, fingers crossed, fighting for a title.
“It was a tough bout but I wasn’t nervous. I feel super-fit thanks to my sports physio Wayne Davis. I could have got drawn into a real scrap but I used my jab, used my boxing skills. I proved to everybody I can box as well as brawl.”
Dickens was fighting on the Solihull MGM show from promoter and former renowned fighter Matthew Macklin and he expects to be back in action in a six-round contest at Villa Park on April 29.
Between now and then, though, there will be plenty of hard work in the Eastside gym.
It’s been a step for Dickens but he says seeing the likes of Eggington, former British and Commonwealth welterweight champion, and WBC International middleweight title champ Cunningham up close is driving his own ambitions.
“I’ve been sparring with Sam and Ryan Kelly and you see how hard these guys work. It makes you even more determined to do well,” said Dickens.
“Working at the Eastside gym is a great experience. Previously I was probably a big fish in a small pond but now I’m the small fish again when you see the likes of Sam, Ryan, Craig Cunningham. It drives you on.”
Dickens, who has built up a strong core of support from Redditch, and thanked his sponsors: IDM Electrical Midlands Ltd, from Redditch, Birmingham’s KJS Training Ltd, Passion VIP, Frielco and H-Bomb Padman.