The featherweight quarter-finals of the inaugural MTK Golden Contract tournament eventualise at York Hall on Friday night, with 27-3 Liverpool fighter James ‘Jazza’ Dickens fighting Spain’s 11-1 Carlos Ramos.
This tournament heralds an excitingly new unconventional and refreshingly-autonomous format in bout selection, with the eight fighters participating gathered at Repton Boxing club on Tuesday afternoon to discover who they will be fighting.
Each selected a corresponding ball from a bag containing four blue and four red balls. The four blue balls were numbered one-four, with the fighter selecting ball one getting the first choice of opponent from any of the four fighters who selected a red ball; the fighter with blue ball two choosing an opponent from the three remaining; the fighter with blue ball three choosing from the two then remaining and thus leaving the final two fighters inevitably paired.
Dickens selected blue ball number two and subsequently had the choice of opponent from a remaining three-fighter pool consisting of Carlos Araujo (15-1), Ryan Walsh (24-2) and Carlos Ramos (11-1). He chose Ramos.
With the overall tournament winner receiving a lucrative promotional contract with one of the sport’s preeminent backers, choosing to advance against the relatively inexperienced Spaniard would appear a prudent and wise selection. Record-wise, Dickens is the most experienced fighter in the tournament; a former English and British super-bantamweight champion, who won the vacant IBF European featherweight title in his last fight, a unanimous decision victory against 27-3 Australian, Nathaniel May at his hometown’s Liverpool Olympia on the 12th July. He has shared the ring with the decorated and vaunted world champion, Guillermo Rigondeaux, as well as European, British and Commonwealth champion, Kid Galahad. He lost to both, retiring at the end of the second round against Rigondeaux with a broken jaw, and via TKO to Galahad in the 10th, but his opponent on Friday lacks commensurate involvement with any opposition of a similar pedigree.
At 24, Carlos Ramos is four years younger than Dickens. Similarly, southpaw, he comes into the fight on the back of two successive championship victories, winning the Spanish featherweight title in November 2018 and the vacant EBU European featherweight title in June. Indeed, the latter was an influential factor in Dickens choosing him.
“He’s got the EBU EU belt which I haven’t had yet, so I’ll like to pick that up,” Dickens told reporters at Tuesday’s quarter-final draw. He also suspects Ramos to be struggling with the weight, stating that he saw him performing a light exercise in a sweatsuit both late Monday evening and early Tuesday morning.
This tournaments raison d'être was to provide an economically beneficial opportunity in a competitive format of exciting matchups to a fighter on a scale that not one of those participating currently enjoys. That is that carrot dangling upon the end of the stick for the winner and will seek ultimate resolution when the final takes place on July 2020. The fighters must each vie to get there first and take their step to that aspirational goal this Friday night. Find out who will prevail and progress out of Dickens and Ramos then.