12th December 2012

Tony Conquest
Despite
negligible amateur pedigree, Romford cruiser Tony Conquest has romped to
a top ten world ranking with the WBO after just ten fights.

A gas
engineer by trade, the unbeaten Queensberry promoted 28-year-old has
already claimed Southern Area and WBO International titles but, as he
informed boxing writer Glynn Evans in this recent interview, it’s the
Lonsdale Belt that he covets most.

‘The
Conqueror’ will edge a few steps closer to securing his chance at
British champion Jon-Lewis Dickinson if he can impress against
Rotherham’s Neil Dawson in a scheduled 12 rounder for his International
strap at the ExCeL London on Saturday evening.

The fight will be shown live and exclusive on
BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546).
Though
you gave a classy performance to outpoint Toks Owoh for the Southern
Area belt last November (2011), people really started to take notice of
you as a serious contender when you spectacularly avenged one time
amateur conqueror Leon Williams. (Conquest wiped out the former British
champion in just 146 seconds in July). That must have got a few monkeys
off your back.
 
Yeh, it
was nice to shut a few people up. Despite my progress a few were still
saying I wouldn’t be able to handle him and expecting a repeat.
(Williams had blown Conquest away in 54 seconds in the 2007 London ABA
final). Finally, people started to acknowledge that I might have a bit
of ability.
 
On a
purely boxing level, I was over the moon because Leon was a former
Southern Area and British champion so it’s a great scalp. I did a tiny
feint, Leon threw a long left hook, exposed his chin and I drilled him
with a short right hand. I noticed his head twist so steamed in with all
guns blazing. He dropped, then when he got up I pinned him on the ropes
and finished him. It’s on You Tube but it’s a shame it never got any TV
coverage.
 
It was
also a bit sad because I’ve been quite friendly with Leon for some time
and he’s a good guy. But this is a hard, ruthless business.
Two
months after, you consolidated with an impressive seventh round
retirement victory over Dublin’s Ian Tims for the vacant WBO
International cruiserweight title. What did you take from that victory?
 
The
satisfaction of defeating a tremendously tough man. I think Ian realised
I was a lot quicker quite early so he backed off and forced me to
commit; constantly beckoning me in, trying to lure me onto a big
counter.
 
After
the blowout over Leon, it was pleasing to get a good few rounds in and
show off some of my boxing skills. But there’s a lot more I can give and
do.  No one’s seen me at my best yet. That’ll come when I get my chance
at that Lonsdale Belt.
In what aspects do you feel you’ve improved and matured as a fighter throughout 2012?

I’ve
developed in all areas but perhaps the most significant is that I’ve
acquired more seasoning. I’m learning what you can and can’t get away
with in good class. It’s a long transition between the amateurs and top
pros and it takes time to breach it.
 
In the
amateurs I had a tendency to over train; tried to succeed simply by
throwing more than the other fella. I felt if I outworked ‘em, I’d win.
It’s not always that simple. I’ve added patience and now understand
that, as you step up, it’s as much about quality as quantity.
 
I spend a
lot of time talking things over with my coach Jason Rowland. He
emphasises the need to settle, not rush. A lot of it is just common
sense.
 
In what areas do you still need to need to develop, so that you can really flourish when matched for more significant titles?

Everything
really. Mastering the art of boxing is a continual curve and you never
stop learning. You probably forget more than you permanently take in.
There’s so much to digest.

Jason
really scrutinises me in the gym and he’s never shy to tell me what I’m
doing wrong! He’s a very harsh taskmaster, likes every shot to be
perfect. But I really want his approval so I always graft double hard in
the gym to get stuff right.
What have you seen of Saturday’s opponent, Neil Dawson from Rotherham? What problems do you envisage him causing you? 
I
watched his Central Area title fight when he got stopped in six against
Matty Askin – that was on You Tube – and I was ringside for his last
fight when he outpointed Menay Edwards over six rounds at the York Hall
(September). That was one of the best small hall fights you’ll ever see;
both hurt the other constantly.
 
Neil’s
one tough, fit fella who looks very strong and has a big right hand.
He’s got two hands and a brain like me and I know he’ll be coming to win
my belt.
Why isn’t he going to get it?!

Because
of my unquenchable desire. It’s a desire that’s going to take me all the
way through to the Lonsdale Belt. If anyone get’s in my way, I’m going
to get them out of my way. On Saturday night Neil Dawson will be in my
way so I’m going to have to shift him.

I’ve got
ability, heart, desire and I train like an animal! Hopefully, it’ll be a
good, hard fight that entertains the fans and makes people take more
notice of me. In time, it’ll line me up for a British title fight but
there’s no rush. I’m still young for a cruiserweight. I’m happy to play
the waiting game.
What are your goals for 2013?

To have a
real good campaign that includes me making more defences of my WBO belt
and finally getting the British title. A Lonsdale Belt outright has
always been my main aim.

Also I might have to go over to Germany for some sparring. All the best fighters, the Eastern Europeans, seem to be over there.
Birtley’s
Jon-Lewis Dickinson recently collected the vacant British title in a
drab 12 rounder over Bulwell’s Shane McPhilbin . What’s your assessment
of him and the other leading domestic contenders?
 
The
Dickinson-McPhilbin fight was messy but it was just a bad clash of
styles which happens sometimes. Shane’s a strong brute and Dickinson
struggled to get his distance but he kept calm and patient. You’ve got
to give him credit for that.
 
I rate
Jon-Lewis very highly, definitely the best of the bunch.  He’s got a
lovely long jab and a terrific engine. It’d be a privilege to share a
ring with him some day and together I’m sure we could put on a really
good fight.
 
Matt
Askin’s a former ABA champion with a good record and he seems very heavy
handed. That China Clarke is a big old lump and there’s a couple of
real class amateurs coming through in Danny Price, a good stylist, and
Scotland’s Steve Simmons who’s seasoned, clever and huge for the weight.
 
The
division has needed a bit of stardust of late but, with those lads
coming through; it won’t be long before it’s rocking again.