NYFIGHTS Prospect Watch: Rhiannon Dixon
Rhiannon Dixon is far from a household name.
She is a domestic-level U.K. fighter in the women’s lightweight division trained by the former world champion, Anthony Crolla. The advent of women’s boxing largely brought on by the financial viability that Katie Taylor provided to be successful has set forth a slew of new stories from a feminine perspective we haven’t seen unearthed.
Earlier this year, I talked about Kim Clavel, a COVID-19 E.R. nurse, who has gone on to fight for a world title and became a draw in Canada. Now let’s talk about Rhiannon Dixon, a lightweight, who is also a pharmacist.
Most interestingly enough, the 8-0 Dixon seems to see herself as a healer, not a hurter, as most boxers tend to have a real mean spirit deep within them. You can tell from this quote below, how thoughtful Dixon is.
“I don't think it's appropriate to be on a ward with a swollen eye or cuts to the face, trying to advise someone on their health,” said the fighter to the BBC last week. “But I'm really good at make-up so I can kind of get away with it.”
Dixon thinks about others a lot, a trait I would say is void in a lot of top athletes, but especially top boxers.
“I don't know how I feel about that. I'd rather not think about it. I don't like hurting people, but I have to block all that out when I'm in the ring,” she said when speaking to the BBC.
Dixon stopped Vicky Wilkinson in the tenth round for the commonwealth title this past weekend on a Matchroom Boxing card from M&S Bank Arena, in Liverpool, England. Yet, her reasoning for even boxing is both inspiring and makes me feel old in the same breath. She saw Ronda Rousey and felt inspired by the unapologetic superstar, while she was at Manchester University, studying to be a pharmacist. It appears that Dixon was drawn to Rousey being a badass, but also being unapologetically feminine in every regard that Dixon felt like she could relate to the cultural icon, Rousey.
This prompted Dixon to go to the gym; initially, she wanted to do MMA, like Rousey.
“…the gym said if you haven't done any combat sport before, try boxing and we'll go from there,” reflected Dixon to the BBC. “There's not much of a diverse pool in white-collar boxing, so once you've kept beating the same girls then you're like where do I go from there?”
Dixon outgrew the sheltered and capped ceiling of white-collar boxing and fitness boot camps that most take solace in. Once she got a taste for the sport, she wanted to experience the next tier.
When Dixon’s friend decided to turn professional, Dixon opted to do so as well. The manager that represented both of them reached out to former world champion Anthony Crolla, who had a rough night prior.
“I was a bit hungover and vulnerable. So I said I'd do a session with them when I'm back. My plan was to help them out until they found a coach – and now here I am,” said Crolla to the BBC. “Rhiannon was a rough diamond who needed polishing up a bit but someone who had no amateur experience. I was so excited to work with her.”
That is the thing. We often talk of fighters with little experience—Dixon had no amateur experience. She is highly educated, and didn’t need to box. She just enjoyed the grind and during COVID-19, Dixon put boxing on the back burner as she worked as a pharmacist, assisting in Intensive Therapy Units. Once sanctions eased back, she spoke candidly.
“I had to tell myself that pharmacy is always there for me for the rest of my life, but I can't be a 60-year-old boxer,” said Dixon as she stated that she is all in on boxing for the time being.
With the looks of a model, and the brains of a doctor, now she needs the right politician to maneuver her to the top of the sport, and her commitment to hard work to take her as far as she can go.
Dixon is seemingly set as she has a career to fall back on. She can go back to her full-time day job of being a pharmacist if need be. Dixon is the living embodiment of living the dream.
“I literally came from white-collar boxing. I always say these lot should be beating me, really,” Dixon stated. “Other people may say without boxing they don't know what they'd do, but I'm literally just doing it for the love of the sport, the love of training, and the love of fighting.”
Though Katie Taylor holds the undisputed title when Taylor steps away from the sport, it is not unthinkable that Dixon could one day see herself in a world title fight, given her compelling story and her demeanor. But how far she goes is up to her, and her alone – essentially.