How a Sheffield sparring partner ended Rotherham boxer’s career

Neil Dawson (left) is punched by John Lewis-Dickinson in their British Cruiserweight Title fight at the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle.
Neil Dawson (left) is punched by John Lewis-Dickinson in their British Cruiserweight Title fight at the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle.
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Rotherham’s Neil Dawson has revealed his retirement from boxing wasn’t a result of losing a British title contest..it was sparring with Sheffielder Jon Ibbotson!

Dawson was TKO’d by Durham’s Jon-Lewis Dickinson in the 10th round of their cruiserweight battle in March last year. After some soul-searching, it proved to be his last match. But it wasn’t any punishment from Lewis-Dickinson which prompted his decision.

The Thorpe Hesley man said: “I’d been sparring with Ibbo before the title fight and he hit me in the right eye and it’s never been right since.

“I started seeing double but didn’t say anything at the time because I didn’t want to be pulled out of the fight. Now I am done with boxing...unless suddenly somebody offered me a one-night chance to fight for the British title again.

“At 34, I don’t want to go through one fighter and then another. But a direct route isn’t going not happen, so now I am a joiner, and that’s it.”

Dawson has no hard feelings about Ibbotson: “He probably doesn’t even know he’s done it.” And he smiles when he remembers how his boxing status measured up to others. “I didn’t have a trainer for the past few fights and used to train at an empty gym in Wombwell. One day I was due to spar Matty Askin. He turned up with Michael Jennings, (former WBU champion) in a flash BMW. I’d come in my battered Vauxhall!”