If you look back over Sheldon Doll’s last four fights, you’ll see nothing but complete domination.
But up next, Doll (6-3) will face the tallest task of his career as he welcomes Marcus Hicks (21-24) into his hometown for a light heavyweight bout in the main event of Rumble in the Cage 59.
With Hicks having 45 fights under his belt in a career dating all the way back to 2003, Doll, 28, said he’s excited to test himself against a true veteran of the sport.
“I’m looking forward to getting in there with someone with a lot of fights,” said Doll in an interview.
“I know he’s skilled all over the place, so I’m just looking to have a good opponent in front of me and be able to showcase more of my skills, rather than just the 14-second or 30-second fights I’ve been having.”
Doll enters this matchup fresh off a 14-second knockout victory over Brad Robinson at Rumble in the Cage 58 in April, while Hicks hasn’t seen cage action since Nov. 2016.
But despite the long layoff, Doll said he’s expecting Hicks to be just as good, if not better, than the last time he competed.
“I was coming off a four-year layoff into my return fight last year, and because I was training that entire time, I actually came back better after four years,” said Doll.
“I can’t say that just because he’s had two years off he’s going to be any less than he might’ve been, so I’m just going to press forward as I normally would do.”
Although he’s riding a four-fight win streak and has nine professional bouts under his belt, one thing Doll has yet to experience is making it out of the first round, win or lose.
But despite having a knack for putting his fights away early, especially of late, Doll said it’s more about opportunity than pushing forward looking for the knockout blow.
“I don’t come forward crazy hard trying to knock guys out with ruthless intentions and put myself out there. I just see opportunities and I’m able to take advantage of them,” said Doll.
“It’s never been something I’ve pressed forward for. I’ve just let it come naturally.”
Much like Doll, Hicks, 34, is not one to go the distance, with just one of his 45 professional fights reaching a decision.
Although he’s expecting an early finish once again, Hicks, training out of Montreal, Que., said he understands Doll is a tough, durable opponent, and he may have to lean more on his cardio if the fight progresses to the later stages.
“My conditioning is on a completely different level than his,” said Hicks in an interview.
“If he’s still around in the second and the third, I feel like I’ll have too much pace for him.”
In the months leading up to this fight, Hicks said this matchup with Doll is one he was actually asking for, and when he received the call, he jumped at the opportunity.
Hicks said Doll is a good opponent for him, and believes the matchup benefits him in multiple facets.
“I feel like he’s good in some places, but I’m better everywhere,” said Hicks.
“He’ll come in with confidence, and come in feeling good on his winning streak, and I’m going to take that all away from him.”
Doll’s recent winning streak has vaulted him near the top ten for middleweight and light heavyweight in Canada.
Not only does Hicks believe he should also be in the top ten, he said he’s going to go out and show why on Saturday night.
“I truly believe I’m in the top ten for both middleweight and light heavyweight in Canada, and the best way to prove that is to fight one of those guys,” said Hicks.
“If you believe you’re at that level, why not test yourself to see if you are at that level? I truly believe, in my heart, that I’m better than him.”
“I’d like to give a thank you to Lee Mein and all my training partners at Canadian Martial Arts Centre. Thank you to my coaches back in Cranbrook for helping me get here, thank you to my main sponsor, Peppermint Hippo Tattoo, and thank you to my girlfriend, Arianna, for supporting me through fight camp and training.”
“I’d really like to thank my best friend Josh and my close friend Anthony, as well as Steve Trottier. These are the three people that have got my through the last year and got me to this place.”