Ward and Dickens the best of friends '“ until the bell rings in Saturday's British title bout
Forget table, chair and insult throwing.
Here is a title confrontation, without a confrontation. Until it gets inside the ropes.
Hartlepool’s unbeaten talent Tommy Ward challenges Jazza Dickens for the Liverpool star’s British super-bantamweight title at Leeds on Saturday.
The two camps were due to meet up at a press conference today and there will have been nothing but compliments flying.
Tommy’s elder brother, Martin, is on friendly terms with both Dickens and his trainers, brothers Paul and Mick Stevenson.
Martin, of course, pushed the Scouser every step of the way when they slugged it out for 12 bloody rounds in Houghton in November 2015, Jazza retaining his belt via a split decision.
“Jazza against Tommy is a really good match-up,” said Paul Stevenson. “We know the Ward family really well and there is a great relationship between us and Tommy and Martin..
“We are looking forward to a fantastic fight and may the best man win.
“I think this could be a different fight to the one Jazza and Martin had, but you never can tell.
“That night was a bit of a clash of styles, which you sometimes get with two southpaws.
“We’re really looking forward to this.”
Dickens has not boxed since his painful challenge for the WBA world title last July against legendary Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux, who broke his jaw with a ferocious left in round two.
Stevenson says there is no physical or mental hangover for the 26-year-old.
“A broken jaw is a tough injury for anyone, especially a boxer,” said the Everton Red Triangle trainer. “It’s six months before you can even get hit again.
“Jazza was back in the gym working as soon as he could.
“I think we were eight months in and I said there would be body-only sparring and Jazza was sticking his head in – he wanted to test it.
“Jazza does not get hit very often, but he has been caught on the jaw in training and he’s been fine.
“He’s not been affected by it, or by the length of his absence.
“He’s been out for 10 months, but these days in boxing that’s nothing.
“Jazza looks in brilliant condition – he’s had a great camp – I don’t think I’ve seen him better or happier.”
The Dickens camp are ambitious for a return to a world title shot and the coach wants a convincing win from his boxer on the Frank Warren show which is being screened live on BT Sport.
“Don’t get me wrong, we are in no way looking beyond Tommy,” said Stevenson. “But we want a good job done on Saturday and get back up to world level.”