Tony Dodson has laughed off suggestions that Prizefighter is his last shot at glory – saying victory at Olympia in London on January 29 will be the catalyst for another major title tilt.
The Liverpool boxer is one of the favourites for the 16th edition of Matchroom Sport’s eight-man, one-night tournaments and after title fight defeats to local rivals Tony Quigley and Paul Smith in his last two bouts, the temptation is there for pundits to say it’s now or never for The Warrior.
But the 30 year-old says believes he has more than a decade left in the game and that lifting the Prizefighter trophy live on Sky Sports – and in 3D for the first time – will propel him to another shot at a major belt.
“I appreciate that people will say ‘oh this is Dodson's last chance, he's getting on now,’ but come on, I've only just turned 30, I'm not that old and certainly not when you put me next to Bernard Hopkins and people like that, boxing at the top level in their mid-40s,” said Dodson. “They’ll also say ‘he's only going in it for the money’ – let them, I don't care – if the other lads in the line-up think that, that’s great.”
Dodson is a fighter who relishes the big occasion after his high profile tussles with Quigley and Smith and a showdown with Carl Froch in Nottingham – something that should stand him in good stead against a field of hungry young fighters appearing in front of the biggest crowd of their careers.
“Being one of the favourites won't affect me at all, I find it quite flattering really - it's an honour that people think that I can win and take it as a positive,” said Dodson. “I've stood the test of time in boxing and fought at the top of the bill in some big nights, been in some of the toughest situations you can in the game with cuts and so on, and I'm still here so nothing fazes me. I'm a full-time boxer, it's what I've chosen to do and it's the only thing I've got so every fight and opportunity I get is a bonus and I thrive on it.
“After the Smith fight I sat down and had a good think and talked to my Dad and I said that I'm 29, I don't want to be sitting round for that time now and waiting for it to happen, I want to be getting in and carrying on at the highest level. The only way to get to become the number one challenger fast is to win Prizefighter and that's what I plan to do,” he added.
With 31 fights to his name, Dodson is the second most experienced fighter in the line-up – with Surrey-based Polish fighter Michael Banbula entering the tournament on the back of a five-fight unbeaten record, the best run of his 40-fight career.
Four young unbeaten fighters are aiming to grab their big chance to leap to the top of the queue for title shots in the division. 22 year-old Travis Dickinson – younger brother of Cruiserweights II winner Jon-Lewis – has three knockouts under his belt from his seven wins so far, with his first victory coming against Super-Middleweights champ Patrick Mendy when the pair made their debuts back in March 2009.
Former Wales amateur captain Llewellyn Davies has five wins to his name with three KOs, 26 year-old Kent fighter Menay Edwards has four wins from his first four fights with one knockout and popular Romford man Billy Slate in undefeated after his opening two fights as he kicks off his career at 28.
St. Albans boxer Joe Smyth will be aiming to build on a 7-1 record and Jack Morris was recently confirmed as the final fighter in the line-up and has revenge in his sights as the only defeat in his six-fight career came in his debut against Banbula.
Tickets for the Prizefighter Light-Heavyweights II are on sale now, with tickets starting at £20 and £30, ringside tickets at £40 and £50, and VIP packages at £120 – tickets are on sale at SeeTickets.com or through Matchroom Sport on 01277 359900.