Banned from boxing – now Thomas Dickson is a rising star

Thomas Dickson trains at Leith 'Victoria gym ahead of his next fight on December 5. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Thomas Dickson trains at Leith 'Victoria gym ahead of his next fight on December 5. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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His parents banned him from boxing as a young boy but now Thomas Dickson is ready to prove he was born to star in the ring.

The lightweight fighter will make his professional debut against England’s Kristian Laight a week on Saturday on MGM Scotland’s ‘Edinburgh Fight Night’ at Meadowbank – an opportunity he thought might never come his way.

Starting out as an amateur just four years ago in Livingston aged 21, Dickson opted to try his luck at Leith Victoria, Scotland’s oldest boxing gym, at a club that has nurtured talents including former WBO super featherweight champion Alex Arthur and 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist and MGM stable-mate, Stephen Simmons.

Recalling the pleas he made to his parents to allow him to take up the sport as a kid, Dickson, now 25, told the Evening News: “My mum and dad never allowed me to go boxing. I don’t really know the reasons why but they just weren’t keen on me doing it. But it was something I always wanted to try. It wasn’t until I reached my 20s that I was finally allowed to give it a go.

“I used to play football and that but boxing has got me on a steady path and has allowed me to keep my head down and have something to focus on.

“I only started boxing really in 2011 and have had about 40 amateur fights so I’m still a relative newcomer. Livingston didn’t really have much to offer so I moved to Leith Victoria. I don’t have the same experience as the likes of Lewis [Benson] who has more than 100 bouts to his name and has fought for Scotland, but I think I can make an impression.

“I really can’t thank the people at Leith Victoria enough for giving me the chance to learn the trade.”

MGM promoter Sam Kynoch quickly snapped up Dickson after learning he was ready to give the paid ranks a try, a deal being agreed just days before MGM’s inaugural Edinburgh show in September. Dickson was in attendance that night at Meadowbank and admits he was taken aback by the atmosphere generated by the partisan crowd of 1400.

“I was at the last one and the atmosphere was just absolutely electric so I know what to expect,” Dickson said with a smile. “It’s going to be a big test for me with such a big crowd there but I’m just more excited to get going than anything else. I reckon I’ll be nervous in the build-up to the fight next week and on the morning itself, but we’ll take that as it comes.

“I feel great just now, I’ve done everything needed to be ready for next Saturday so I can’t wait. I’ve sold almost 200 tickets so I’ll have a great crowd to back me as well and even my mum and dad are coming along too!”

With the MGM brand continuing to grow throughout the country, Dickson revealed he was only too happy to sign on the dotted line when the call came.

He said: “When you look around, MGM are just going that wee bit 10 per cent extra than some of the others out there. I don’t think there is an amateur in the country who wouldn’t jump at the chance to sign for MGM right now. They’ve got a great set-up and stable of boxers who have boxed in the Commonwealth Games so that can only help me.

“I know a lot of the guys already through past amateur shows so there’s no animosity and we all get on great.”

n Tickets for Edinburgh Fight Night on December 5 are priced at £40, £60 and £100 and are available from Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.co.uk/MGM) or via any of the boxers on the bill.