Dodge's fight against Carr gives Lewis purpose after devastating year
- Credit: Josh Thomas
Dean Dodge will take on Danny Carr for the Southern Area title at the University of Bolton Stadium, home of Bolton Wanderers on February 19.
And it is a fight which has given his coach, and friend, Dean Lewis a “purpose” in what has been a “devastating” year for boxing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The bout takes place just under a year on from when Dodge met Sean Davis at Wellsprings Leisure Centre in Taunton - hosting its first professionl boxing show since 1994 - where he stretched his unbeaten run to 10 fights, including winning his last seven in a row.
“It’s been really difficult, he had a good win against a decent opponent and he was scheduled to be out in April, May again,” said Lewis.
“He actually hurt his right hand in the fight against Sean Davis. To kind of start off with it was a blessing in disguise anyway because I don’t think his hand would have been ready for April or May.
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“We were just working with his left hand for a little while and staying fit and then around March 20 when the first lockdown happened we had to stop to training for a bit because it was a full lockdown at the start when even the elite and professional athletes weren’t allowed to train.
“It was devastating, but after a few months they eased it off a little bit so the elites could start training.”
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The impact of the coronavirus has seen gyms up and down the county forced to close during lockdown and lose out on making money.
The Warrior Gym, based in Coker Road, is home to Weston Warriors Boxing Club, which ranges all the way from the age of four upwards and last August saw Lewis set up a GoFundMe page to call for the general public to donate what they could to help.
A total of £1,030 was donated by 39 people, but with the club back in lockdown for a third time, Lewis admitted Covid-19 has impacted so many people and so many have found it tough but insists they will keep moving forward and not be defeated by this virus.
He added: “It’s been hard, it’s been devastating really. This pandemic has really, really hit the sport of boxing really hard.
“Every club in the country was at a standstill with it completely unknown when we were going to be back competing again.
“We haven’t been sparring for nearly a year and only a small percentage of professionals are getting opportunities.
“Obviously the shows are being televised by boxing promoters and there’s limited space on the shows, with a lot of professionals wanting fights, but we are fortunate and I just hope we can see light at the end of the tunnel soon.
“The gym side of things have been an absolute nightmare. Obviously we are open and then we are closed again. Then we are open and everything had to be socially distanced.
“For me, I’ve gone from being in the gym, five, six sometimes seven days a week, up and down the country, all different shows with professionals and amateurs, to have everything completely taken away from me and not being able to do it.
“There’s a lot of other people who are in the same position and obviously there’s a lot of people and their families that have suffered losses and are in a tougher position than I am.
“So we just have to embrace it and everyone individually has to work around the best they can and what they do for a living. They need to try and change and adapt, and just try and do the best we can in this situation.”
But for Lewis and Dodge, it was not all bad news for the pair in 2020.
Last summer Dodge changed management and signed with Mark ‘Mo’ Prior, who set up the fight against Carr, which will be shown live on both ESPN in America, and IFL TV, in UK.
And if Dodge overcomes Carr, his professional contract with MTK will give him another fight within 120 days and Lewis says this opportunity has given them something to work for and it’s one they will relish.
He said: “It’s a massive confidence boost to having a fight date to work for because trying to stay motivated in the gym for a boxer with no fight date is very hard.
“It would be like a footballer training to play football every single week and never having a football game.
“You train to play and it’s the same for boxers, it’s a very lonely sport as well because you are doing it yourself.
“In this situation it’s just been me and Dodge and at times it has been hard to keep him motivated and keep his head in the game.
“There is a light at the end of the tunnel with him getting this fight date, it’s amazing really and it gives us a purpose, it gives us an opponent to train for and it’s given us a purpose to stay in the gym.”
*See part two of the interview with Dean Lewis ahead of Dean Dodge’s biggest fight to date.