In what is a fascinating blend of styles, light-heavyweights Bob Ajisafe and Travis Dickinson meet for a second time on Saturday (November 8) at Glow, Bluewater in the final of the MaxiNutrition Knockout tournament, live on Channel 5.
Ajisafe, the reigning British champion, is a product of Brendan Ingle’s Wincobank stable and a staunch advocate of his hit-and-move tactics, while Dickinson, the current English champion, is from the rougher side of town and has fight-ending power in both hands.
Last time out in May, Dickinson waged one of the fights of the year with Matty Clarkson. Both men were decked three times in less than six rounds. Ajisafe, watching on, questioned whether Dickinson would ever be the same again.
“It was a back-and-forth fight and both took a lot of punishment,” he said. “It took a lot out of Travis. He went down a few times and looked a bit weak in there. He looked like he was wincing in pain. But he showed a big heart and a lot of courage to come back.
“It will be interesting to see how they both respond from it. When you take that sort of punishment in a fight, it can be wear and tear on your body. It can take years off you. I’m not sure if Travis had any injuries after that fight, but it looked like he could have broken a few ribs. That’s not ideal. That takes a while to heal. Once those ribs have been damaged, I’m sure they can be damaged again.”
Dickinson, of course, has a different take on the most exciting fight of his 18-bout professional career.
“It was a good fight,” he said. “I like a good battle. To watch it back and see that everyone had been talking about it was great, but it wasn’t fun to experience at the time. It was one of the toughest fights of my life. Even watching it back was painful.
“I had to stay positive and confident when I was hurt and on the floor. I had to drag myself up. My punch power turned the fight around, but so did my determination and will to win. It all came into play. I just wanted to win so badly. There was a point when I didn’t think I was going to be able to get up – I was winded for a whole round – but I knew I had to get up if I wanted to win and that’s what I did.”
Dickinson, 17-1 (7 KOs), eventually stopped Clarkson in the sixth round to set up a meeting with Ajisafe in the final of the MaxiNutrition Knockout tournament. And, having lost a 10-round decision to the British champion before, back in December 2012, the hard-hitting Geordie knows exactly what he’s up against on November 8.
“It will be a different type of fight to the Clarkson one, but I still think it will be exciting and fast-paced,” he said. “We won’t be standing toe-to-toe and having a war, though. That’s very unlikely.”
Ajisafe, 13-2 (4 KOs), agrees. Not only does he believe he has the blueprint to beat Dickinson, he also feels he possesses the skills and slickness to repeat the job a second time.
“Some people don’t appreciate the skills of a boxer as much as they appreciate the heart of a brawler,” he said. “But, for me, boxing’s all about the sweet science and hitting and not getting hit.
“I’m not a brawler. That’s not my style, as Travis knows. He knows I won’t be there to be hit. I won’t engage in a brawl with him. I’m going to implement my tactics and my game plan to control the fight.”