Liam Dillon: "I Wanted To Do A Traditional Route"
British Super-Featherweight Champion Liam Dillon has a
chance to add the Commonwealth Title to his growing
collection of belts when he faces a resurgent Reece Bellotti
at the top of a Matchroom NXTGEN card at Indigo at The O2
this Saturday February 10, live worldwide on DAZN.
Chingfordís Dillon (13-0-1, 3 KOs), a former Southern Area
and English Champion at 130lbs, claimed the vacant British
Title via an all-action split decision win against Qais
Ashfaq in Newcastle last July Ė dedicating the career-best
win to his late sister Lauren.
Now the 28-year-old, who train's out of RJ's Boxing Gym in
Brentwood under the guidance of Ross Pearce, gets the
opportunity to headline a Eddie Hearn-promoted card against
one of his "favourite fighters" - with the opportunity to
collect the fourth title of his pro career since turning
over in April 2017.
ďI wanted to do the traditional route," said Dillon. "I
didnít really want to skip belts. I think boxing is just
about climbing the corporate ladder. I won the Southern
Area, whatís next? English. Won the English then I got a
Commonwealth Eliminator. Then that earned me a shot at the
British Title. Now Iím getting the Commonwealth, so yeah it
has been the traditional route. Theyíre the four main belts
you want to win first before you start pushing on to
International or World Titles.
ďIím mentally and physically in the best shape of my life. I
canít wait for this now; itís a massive opportunity and Iím
really looking forward to it. Winning the British Title was
always my boyhood dream. They were always the best fights
growing up. To unify it with the Commonwealth is even
bigger, especially because I had such a hard fight in a
Commonwealth Title Eliminator before I won the British.
ďReece was one of my favourite fighters growing up. I
remember doing an interview years ago and I remember saying
that Reece Bellotti was my favourite domestic fighter. Heís
had a few losses but he still probably is one of my
favourite fighters. He comes to fight, he gives it a go,
heís on a really good streak at the moment so thatís just
really spurred me on more. To be at the Indigo at The O2
with all of my fans, I just canít wait to put on a show. I
think itís going to be a great fight."
Watfordís Bellotti (17-5, 14 KOs) is enjoying a three-fight
winning streak across 2022 and 2023, with the ĎBomberí
picking up the vacant Commonwealth Super-Featherweight Title
last time out at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool by stopping
Aqib Fiaz in eight rounds Ė the Oldham fighterís first
Dillon knows that he will have to be at his very best if he
is to avoid a similar fate to Fiaz, and the respectful East
Londoner says he is prepared to do whatever it takes to get
his hand raised after what he predicts will be the toughest
test of his promising career to date.
ďI donít know what heís going to do," said Dillon. "I feel
like heís got a few tricks up his sleeve for me. Iím just
going to go for it - do what I do best. I find I fight
better when Iím enjoying myself so thereís no point trying
to do something that I donít enjoy doing. I might as well
just go in there and have a fight and if he does the same
then he does the same and I think it will be great for
everyone to watch.
ďI think the British Title is a belt everyone wants. I donít
know if itís going to be his last chance to win it, thatís
not my position to say. Heís had a shot at the British
before, he fell short. I remember watching that fight and
thinking he might have nicked it Ė I think it was a split
decision loss. Heís earned the shot again, he has definitely
earned it as well coming off three massive wins. I know heís
going to give it all heís got. Same here.
ďHeís mandatory for the British and Iím mandatory for the
Commonwealth. Iím the man in the way of what he wants and
heís the man in the way of what I want. Iím used to fighters
punching hard. Iíve always been quite tough. I respect
everyoneís power. Heís got a dig on him and heís shown it -
heís got a high knockout ratio.
"I just concentrate on the man in front of me. I see it
being a hard fight. I have no doubt that Reece is going to
give me the hardest fight of my career. Heís experienced, he
has punch power - I think heís going to give me my hardest
fight. Whatever Iíve got to do to get my hand raised, Iíll
Dillon vs. Bellotti headlines Matchroom's latest NXTGEN
card, exciting 21-year-old Cameron Vuong (3-0, 2 KOs) gets a
fourth pro outing against the experienced Ishmael Ellis
(14-7) over eight rounds at Lightweight, Crystal Palace
Light-Heavyweight contender Craig Richards (17-3-1, 10 KOs)
makes his long-awaited return to the ring in a ten-round
contest with Glasgow's Boris Crighton (12-4, 7 KOs), rising
Watford Super-Flyweight star Shannon Ryan (6-0) faces
Wakefield's Jasmina Zapotoczna (6-0) for the WBA
International Title, Takeley Cruiserweight John Hedges (8-0,
2 KOs) meets Germanyís Erdogan Kadrija (20-5, 12 KOs) over
eight rounds, Greenwich Middleweight Jack Oliphant makes his
professional debut against Swindon's Jensen Irving (4-5)
over four rounds, Birmingham Lightweight Ibraheem Sulaimaan
(2-0, 1 KO) looks to maintain his unbeaten start to life in
the paid ranks against France's Jordan Patrick Tomosoni
(4-0-1, 1 KO) and German Heavyweight prospect Emmanuel
Odiase (1-0, 1 KO) fights for the second time as a pro
against Belgium's Amine Boucetta (8-9).