James “Jazza” Dickens is a British professional boxer who has challenged for the WBA Super-Bantamweight World Championship in 2016 and the IBF Featherweight World
title in 2021. He is also the former IBF and WBO European Featherweight Champion and has previously held the British Super-Bantamweight title.
Dickens took up boxing at the age of 12-years-old at the Salisbury ABS in Liverpool. After two-years, Dickens moved to Golden Gloves ABC before settling at Everton Red Triangle Boxing Club, representing his country many times at junior level. In 2010, Dickens won the coveted Senior ABA Bantamweight Championship. After missing out on the Commonwealth Games, Dickens decided to turn professional, making his pro debut in January 2011. He began with a 13-0 record, including victories over Yuriy Voronin, Franklin Varela before facing unbeaten Jon Fernandes in March 2013 for the English Super-Bantamweight title, with Dickens won via unanimous decision.
Dickens won his next two fights setting up a bout against Sheffield’s Kid Galahad for the vacant British Super-Bantamweight title. Heading into the bout, both Dickens and Galahad were up for the Young Boxer of the Year award, and both had been highlighted as future world champions. The fight was an incredible back-and-forth bout which ended with Galahad stopping Dickens in the tenth round, inflicting the first defeat of Dickens’ professional career.
“It was tough on my ego – that’s what it was. It was a humbling experience. It was a tough time for me personally, that shame of losing. It was hard.”
Two years later, Dickens had the opportunity of winning the British title once again as he took on Josh Wale, this time winning via unanimous decision. The following year, Dickens was given the opportunity to win a world title when he challenged Guillermo Rigondeaux for the WBA Super-Bantamweight title. Dickens’ cormer pulled him out of the fight after the second round after it was discovered that Dickens had fractured his jaw from a left hand by Rigondeaux. In his next fight, Dickens defended his British title against Thomas Patrick Ward. Dickens was racking up the points in the early rounds until Ward began to get the upper hand in the contest, turning the fight into a close encounter. In the ninth round, Ward was pushed to the canvas which opened a cut above his left eye, leading to the referee to stop the fight on the advice of the ringside doctor. At the time of the stoppage, Ward was up on the scorecards which lead to him being awarded the fight via technical decision, and handed Dickens a back-to-back loss.
Dickens teamed up with legendary boxing coach George Vaughn, known by many as the ‘Godfather of Merseyside Boxing’. Vaughn has trained boxers such as the Smith Brothers, and this partnership seemed like the perfect fit for Dickens. With Vaughn now as head coach, Dickens entered the MTK Global Golden Contract tournament in 2019. He defeated Carlos Ramos in the quarter-finals via unanimous decision which set-up a semi-final bout against Nottingham’s Leigh Wood, which Dickens won by majority decision. In the final, Dickens would face Ryan Walsh. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the final was fought behind closed doors, and Dickens triumphed with a unanimous points decision, handing Dickens another shot at a world title.
“This is my moment. I beat Leigh Wood and Ryan Walsh this year and now I want a world title. I’ll have my rewards when I get my world title.”
With his victory in the Golden Contract tournament, Dickens had options for a World title fight for either the WBA or IBF belts. Jazza chose the IBF route which set-up a rematch of his 2011 British title fight with Galahad. Unfortunately, Dickens lost his second bout with Galahad at Fight Camp in Brentwood, England. This led to the retirement of Dicken’s head coach Vaughan at the age of 83, and in late 2021, Dickens joined forces with decorated Irish boxing coach Peter Taylor - the father and trainer of undisputed World and Olympic champion Katie Taylor.
In his fight bout with Taylor as head coach, Dickens won with an impressive knockout performance against former European champion, Andoni Gago, in his hometown of Liverpool. This set up another shot at winning a world title when Dickens fought South African Lerato Dlamini for the IBO Featherweight crown. Dickens was victorious with an
unanimous points decision and earning him his first career world title.
“I have been working for this for 18 long hard years, but I did it with my fans, we did it together. Tonight, I am going to celebrate with everyone in Liverpool.”
His first defence would come in July 2023 in Dubai against Hector Sosa. Things looked good for Dickens as he put Sosa down in the first minute of the first round. After a rocky start, Sosa began to rally in the third and fourth rounds, with Dickens having a dominate ninth round, and seemingly gaining control of the match before Sosa connected with an
overhand right in the tenth round that knocked Dickens out and handed Sosa the biggest win of his career to date. Dickens and Sosa will rematch for the IBO Featherweight World Championship on December 16th 2023.