Sean ‘Masher’ Dodd didn’t start boxing until he was 26-years old, prior to that he says he suffered depression and wasn’t sure where his life was leading. Getting in scraps and attracting trouble, Dodd warrants boxing for saving his life and giving him direction.
On Sunday, on the Bellew-Makabu world title fight card at Everton’s Goodison Park ground, the Birkenhead boxers decision to follow a life in boxing paid off when he became the proud owner of the WBC International lightweight title by outpointing Italian Pasquale Di Dilvio over 10-rounds in a assured controlled performance on what was a memorable night for him and British boxing. Watch fight above.
Dodd, roared on by his army of fans took the win on all judges scorecards; 97-93, 98-92, 98-92. It capped what has been a testing two years for the Merseysider, who has battled back from defeat to get his career to heights unforeseen, showing a deep determination to never give in.
In May 2014 at the Doncaster Dome, Dodd was stopped by Andy Townsend in the 7th round, of what was a fantastic scrap for the Central Area super-featherweight belt. Wakefield man Townsend turned out to be a much better opponent than first thought. He did have three losses going into the fight and Dodd was 8-0 unbeaten.
It was a gruelling war for 7-rounds, a toe-to-toe slugfest and both gave everything they had. Unfortunately that night in Yorkshire, the Birkenhead crowd behind ‘Masher’ and the Wakefield crowd supporting Townsend were involved in a stand off during the fight and such was the intensity of the fight a minority of fans became too enrolled and on at least two occasions it delayed the fight until security got control.
Dodds coach had to take to the mic at one point and calm the crowd down, yelling to the Dodd fans that they were, ‘going to cost Masher the title.’ – There was no doubt that the melly going on outside the ring didn’t help Dodd’s concentration and you could see he was visibly moved and concerned by what was going on. That is taking nothing away from Townsend who is a boxer of some promise and has gone on since to win the English title after stopping Dodd that night in the 7th with an overhand right.
After almost a year out, Dodd returned at lightweight with a routine win, before being offered a late replacement slot against Gary Buckland in a British title eliminator for Scott Cardle’s British lightweight title. – Masher took the opportunity with both hands and proved that the war with Townsend, hard though it was, infant had brought him of age and done more good than harm for his career, it had hardened him and gave him the baptism he needed to judge his position in the unforgiving sport of professional boxing. – Masher put on a fantastic display to outwork and out score former British champ Buckland at the Olympia in Liverpool and booked his place to take on Cardle.
Again Dodd turned up against Cardle and was out-working the champion as he looked to grasp his chance and become an unlikely British champion at the first time of asking at Liverpool’s Echo Arena. But it wasn’t to be after a gallant effort he was one minute away from the end of the contest when in the 12th and final round it appeared the referee stopped the fight prematurely after Dodd was tagged by one shot too many for the officials liking. – It was a bitter ending for team Dodd and again they had to pick themselves up, but the performance their boxer shown in just his 12th fight gave them hope in a planned rematch with Cardle.
In the return Dodd again boxed very well and built up an early points lead before the champion came on strong in the second half of the fight. After another 12-hard rounds, the fight was declared a draw and again the Lonsdale belt was to elude the Birkenheader. – But the two performances enhanced his reputation and his fan base grew, Eddie Hearn was happy to give him a different route before a potential rubber match with Cardle. – The fact Masher can sell £50,000 worth of tickets alone, is a big draw for any promoter, but Dodd can back it up and the fans, win, lose or draw go home happy.
On Sunday night Dodd’s perseverance paid off when he lifted his green belt in the fantastic setting of Goodison Park, with a performance of quality and pose, methodically outwitting his continental opposition behind his penetrating jab to run away with the result on this occasion.
Veteran campaigner Di Silvio was a rough and tumble come forward aggressor and Dodd used text book skills to take a wide and worthy victory.
Dodd’s stock has risen, so what is next for this nice guy of boxing? – A rematch down the line with Townsend would be something if they can both remain unbeaten and if Townsend ever moves unto lightweight. But the obvious immediate aim should be to try and secure a third meeting with Cardle, although the British champion said after the last fight that he didn’t want to face Dodd a third time and would seek other options. But in reality the fight should happen, it makes sense after the last two controversial encounters and Dodd deserves another shot at the gold strap.
He now has some bait to attract Cardle and it is a fight the fans would like to see. After his win on this May summer bank holiday, When asked his thoughts after the fight on his new belt after the British title failure, an emotional Dodd said; “It’s the green belt, it’s the green belt you now! Ha, I feel like I’ve won the world title! I feel like I’m in Mayweathers league now.” he joked.
“No, it’s just surreal you know! “I’ve got to thank Steve (Wood, manager) and Eddie (Hearn – Matchroom) for getting me this opportunity. I’m so privileged to be on Sky Sports, it’s something I’d never think of in my whole life.
“I wanna thank my coaches Danny (Kelly) and Sean (Trodden) and my team – Danny’s just been over me like a hawk 24-7. I’ve been in camp now for 12 months, for four fights back-to-back and I wanted a rest, I needed a break, but I wanted to earn that rest and now I’ve done this I can have that rest! Birkenhead baby, I’ve got the belt!
Holding back the tears Dodd continued. “I’m just so over-whelmed, I’d like to thanks everybody for coming out and supporting me. It has been a real hard road for me, but I wouldn’t have it any other way because it feels like I deserve this now and I’m just so happy.” added the humble boxer. – Masher everyone is happy for you!