It may take a while, but Rhiannon Dixon is going to have to get used to being described as a world champion rather than a former pharmacist. 

On Saturday night, the 28-year-old southpaw dropped Argentina’s accomplished Karen Elizabeth Carabajal and boxed her way to a comprehensive unanimous decision victory to claim the WBO lightweight title. 

The win capped a remarkable rise for Dixon, 10-0 (1 KO). It is just over four years since she walked out at Bolton’s White Hotel to make her professional debut. She did so without a long amateur career or a large promotional deal. Dixon’s unpaid experience amounted to seven white collar fights and she was a part-time fighter who combined her training with her job as a pharmacist. 

To go from a standing start to a world title in such a short space of time is a remarkable achievement and after the fight, the enormity of her accomplishment was slowly beginning to dawn on her.

“Because it’s been such a long camp it doesn’t feel real. It’s still so fresh so it’s not hit me and I think I’ll wake up tomorrow and be like ‘Oh my God, I’m a world champion.’” Dixon said.

“In 10 [professional] fights, going from Commonwealth to European and now world champion, from white collar. This is my 17th fight. Not counting street fights.”

Things changed when Dixon linked up with her trainer – former WBA lightweight champion, Anthony Crolla – just over three years ago. 

“When I was doing pharmacy I thought, ‘Oh, it’s so far away I’ll just see how I get on.’ and then when I got with Paul [Ready, her manager] and Anthony [Crolla, her trainer] and got this whole new team around me it was real,” she said.

“I want to not only do it for myself but do it for them. Everything changed. My training changed and I thought, ‘You know what? I am going to be a world champion.’”

The changes and plenty of hard work have paid off. Dixon is now a major player in one of women’s boxing’s blue riband divisions. Katie Taylor still holds the WBA and WBC titles while big names like Beatriz Ferreira and Caroline Dubois also inhabit the higher reaches of the 135lb class.

Dixon’s analytical mind also means that she is her own harshest critic but although the challenges are sure to get tougher, she can now head into those big fights safe in the knowledge that she deserves to mix in those circles. Those thoughts can wait. For the time being, Dixon is determined to enjoy the moment. 

“I’ve been dreaming about this because obviously the fight has been on the cards for ages. For loads of nights I’ve been dreaming. I’d been doing 10 rounds in my sleep, waking up absolutely knackered and thinking, ‘Oh my God, I’m in my bed. I haven’t even won it yet.’ Now I’ve done it and I actually did it better in my dream than I did tonight so I wish I would have done it the way I did it in my dream,” she said.

“I know I can do a lot better and I get down on myself. I don’t want to seem ungrateful but I’m just so self-critical and I just need to live in the moment. I’m never going to get this moment back again where I’ve just won my first world title. I’m a perfectionist.”

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