Boxing: Ruddock runs the rule over Lewis

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LENNOX LEWIS takes another step along the road towards the world heavyweight title tonight when he meets Mike Dixon, of the United States, in Atlantic City. Two interested spectators at Harrah's Marina will be Riddick Bowe and Razor Ruddock, Lewis's Canadian former compatriot.

Lewis, assuming he wins tonight, as he is expected to, will meet Ruddock in London on 31 October, and the winner of that fight will challenge Evander Holyfield for the world title, unless Holyfield is unseated by Bowe on 13 November. In that case a repeat of the 1988 Olympic heavyweight final is in prospect, with Bowe no doubt anxious for revenge over Lewis, who won gold fighting then for Canada before his move back to Britain.

Dixon, 27, has a professional record of 10 wins, all inside the distance, and five defeats, all on points. He said yesterday: 'I feel Lennox has the ability to beat Holyfield, but he has to get past me first - and if he does, I'm sure he will win the world title. Because of that this is my most important fight. I can cause an upset which would mean I will be able to start my career afresh.'

But Bowe's manager, Rock Neuman, discounts the possibility of an upset: 'Dixon is no calibre, no threat,' he said. 'Lennox is just looking to get a few rounds under his belt before fighting Ruddock.'

Lewis himself said of his illustrious observers: 'I'm glad they're coming to watch me in action. They need to see what I've got. It's vital that they do. It's very important that I look good in this one. I want to impress everybody and get people to believe that I have got what it takes to be the world champion.'

Ruddock said: 'Lennox used to be a pretty good boxer when he was a youngster in Canada, so I decided not to miss out on this chance to see what he's got - to see for myself if he has changed at all.'