Alex Dilmaghani headlines the York Hall, Bethnal Green, on Saturday 16th November when he finally takes on world class Nicaraguan Francisco Fonseca with the IBO Super-Featherweight World Championship on the line, exclusively live on free-to-air Channel 5.
The 28-year-old southpaw super featherweight – slippery, strong and savage in equal measure – stumbled on a pothole in late September when his WBA International Title challenge was scuppered at the 13th hour after Fonseca was withdrawn be BBBofC doctors after citing an illness shortly before the ring walks.
‘Some said Fonseca looked nervous at the weigh-in. Though he was perhaps half an inch taller, I looked bigger all round, far healthier, far stronger,’ claims ‘Dilma’ who is now undefeated in well over eight years and 15 starts, many of which took place in the brawl halls of Mexico where he served a brutal ring apprenticeship.
‘We know Fonseca is big at the weight but he’d had eight weeks to prepare and, in previous articles and interviews, he’d said he’d pretty much been ‘on weight’ for a few weeks.
‘I only learned the fight was off at about five to nine, after I was gloved up, warmed up. When the Board official approached, I just assumed it was to notify me that it was ‘Walk Out’ time. But I knew they’d not joke about something like that. I’m a big student of the sport but I’ve never come across anything remotely similar.
Ferocious Fonseca, a two time world title challenger with dynamite in his fists, had been recruited as a litmus test for the Mick Hennessy promoted Southampton law graduate who had presented himself as a world champion-in-waiting after forcing 25-2-1 Slovakian hard case Martin Parlagi to crack in eight on dazzler Dilma’s UK return at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse last May.
But, confronted by adversity, the one time hired help for Mexican Hall of Famer Juan Manuel Marquez demonstrated the bloody-mindedness and consummate professionalism that many knowledgeable minds believe will ultimately see him coronated at the highest stage.
My initial emotion was ‘pissed off’. It messes with your mind. I wasn’t good to be around,’ disclosed Dilmaghani.
‘Making weight is not an issue for me – I could still make featherweight, if needed – but you think of all the heartache you’ve put yourself through in prep, the sacrifices you’ve made. You think about the plans you’d made to relax after the fight. You think about not getting the win, not being able to move on.
‘This was my long overdue break at crashing the major rankings, announcing myself on the world stage but there’s no point crying over spilt milk. It dawned there’s nothing I could do to change it. There’ll be many more fights. At least I got the experience of another full camp, press conferences, weigh-in etc. You just have to accept that, in this industry, fights can get called off at late notice…..just not THAT late.
‘I knew if I lost focus, it’d only harm me in the long run so I channelled the anger back into my training. The gym has always been where I go to vent my aggression and I was back there on the Monday (30th).
‘My philosophy is, I train all year round to improve. Similar to martial artists, I treat boxing as a craft that I need to master so I try to improve every day that I’m at the gym. Others might take time off after a fight and harm their bodies, going up and down in weight. Not me.
‘But I know my limits. There’s no risk I’ll go stale. I don’t ‘over push’ it. Sparring puts mileage on the clock so I only do that close to a fight, as a necessity. I took two weeks off sparring after the Sept 28th date but I’ve loads of good sparring recently.
‘I’m ready to go again right now or in three weeks. Nothing will deter me.’
Promoted by Mick Hennessy in association with Infinitum, Channel 5 and Priority Promotions, Dilmaghani v Fonseca will be televised exclusively live in the UK on free-to-air Channel 5 and 5Spike.
Chief support on the card features an exciting clash between Irish star John Joe Nevin v Freddy Fonseca for the WBA International Super-Featherweight Championship. A packed and top quality undercard also features: Fast rising Sevenoaks middleweight talent Michael Hennessy Jnr; Bexleyheath super-flyweight Sammy Cantwell, son of Mickey, the former British Flyweight Champion; Stockwell welterweight Samuel Antwi; Welsh super-featherweight Rhys Edwards; Chelsea Lightweight Connor Marsden; two London based Romanians: super-welterweight Flavius Biea and heavyweight Lucian Atani; Basildon super-lightweight Lewis Smith; Islington middleweight Billy Underwood; Luton super-lightweight Jahid Munim and Islington featherweight Alizara Ghadiri.
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