Mark ‘The Flash’ Alexander
On April 24th, at the Steve Goodwin promoted ‘Night Of The Rising Stars’ event in London’s York Hall, a not so much a new star but definitely a resurgent star, Mark ‘The Flash’ Alexander, grabbed the headlines with his stunning performance which saw him destroy Luton’s Michael Devine.

Devine – touted as the next Ricky Hatton because of his exciting style and awesome knockout ratio both as an amateur and a pro – was sent crashing to the canvas no less than four times in just three rounds, before the referee decided enough was enough and stopped the fight.

This week the Hackney born 34 year old returned to training at the Ultrachem TKO Gym in Canning Town, East London, under the watchful eyes of his coach Barry Smith, whom, along with world class trainer Jimmy Tibbs, he is quick to credit for making this magnificent win possible.

Following the typically grueling session the always effervescent Alexander spoke of the fight and the changes that his new coach had bought to his game, “I watched a video of the fight the other day for the first time. It was good, the fight went according to plan, as in him coming out fast and throwing punches and me countering him catching him with the right hand. Anything I’m going to hit him with I knew I had to hurt him because he comes in throwing lots of punches. I knew I had to hurt him to get respect.

Barry has changed a lot of my boxing now, you know, my technique. He gave me so much more to my training. He’s added to what I already have, you know strength and added more power. He’s made me tougher he’s added so much to the arsenal I already had. You know, he’s added new combinations, he’s made me more ferocious. Which I need to be.

He’s bought out the killer in me, I’m far more ferocious. I’m also now a better boxer. I was a good boxer before but he’s bought it all together. I’m not just a boxer-puncher now. He’s added things and made me a overall better fighter.”

Barry Smith, who had been sitting close to his charge throughout, chipped in. “It was a good win. He done everything right, he done everything perfect. He listened to what he was told, not just in the gym but also in the fight.

He listened to Jimmy Tibbs in his corner and did everything he was told. He was nice and relaxed. He went out there and done a number on the boy.

He made it look easy, mind you we worked on that though. We worked on the outside and when he (Devine) dropped his hand when he comes in wild Mark just countered him. He listened and he done it. I couldn’t’ have asked more from him. It’s the best I have ever seen him.

Mark wants it. It’s terrific to work with Mark because he wants it, and he listens. I’ve been there and done it. I’ve worked with the best trainers in the world and I’ve learnt. It’s good to be able to put it all into practice with a fighter that wants to learn like Mark does.”

Following some witty banter between gym owner, world class trainer Johnny Eames, Alexander and Smith; ‘The Flash’ said “It also helps being at such a great gym. Here at Ultrachem TKO there are top coaches like Johnny (Eames), Jimmy (Tibbs), Del (Derek Grainger) and Brian (Lawrence) who all take the time to watch you when you spar and give advice.

Talking about sparring look around there is always top sparring going on, I mean I never have to worry about getting quality sparring. Those guys have great fighters like Kevin (Mitchell), Ian (Napa), Marshy (Matthew Marsh). I could mention more but there are so many great fighters here.”
Coach Barry Smith gives Alexander some tips
Alexander changed tack and said “I want to fight a good name next, I want someone that’s been there and already won a title.” and then stated that he has set his sights on former English Champion Ryan Barratt as his next opponent before going on to say. “I’ve watched Ryan Barratt for a few years now, he’s a former English Champion. That’s just the kind of scalp I want now. I want to start getting at the names in the division.

I know it won’t be easy as he’s tall, awkward southpaw. I’ve thought long and hard, the times right and I know I can beat him.

Me and Barry watching some video of him, and Barry watched his last fight. We’re sure we know how to beat him. There is a few things, style wise, I would need to change as he’s a southpaw. Yeah, and I’ll be a lot more meaner and more aggressive, but you know if it has to be done it has to be done. I want to really impress, I want to be noticed so I get to fight more names and start climbing the ranks again.”

At this point Smith shrugged and with a resigned look added, “I don’t like southpaws, I don’t like my fighters fighting southpaws but I think Mark can dismantle Ryan.

Mark takes a round or two to warm up. I know he didn’t show that the other night but he does. I think after two rounds Mark will take Ryan apart.

He wants to fight Ryan Barratt and I’m happy with that. We’re gonna started working on getting Mark stronger, I know he’s strong but he can be stronger. When I first got Mark he wasn’t that strong and he wasn’t a very hard puncher believe it or not. But now he’s hitting hard, he’s getting stronger so there’s more room there for the boy to improve more.

Great fighters can adapt, good fighters can’t. Mark can adapt. He’s shown that. He used to fight on the back foot and we had him fighting on the front foot. He looked good, he looked like he had done that his whole career. People suss you out when you don’t adapt. They sussed out Tyson in the end because he couldn’t adapt. Mark’ll adapt again to take on Ryan Barratt and he’ll take it.”

To which ‘The Flash’ responded “You bet I will”

Alexander is due to have discussions with Ryan Barratt’s promoter Steve Goodwin early next week. Top of the agenda is the possible clash with Ryan Barratt on Goodwin’s June 19th show at the York Hall in Bethnal Green.

If the deal can be done this will be one of the must see fights of 2010, so watch this space for more on Alexander vs Barratt very, very soon.
photos by: Gianluca (Rio) Di Caro

‘Night Of The Rising Stars’ promotion. Mark ‘The Flash’ Alexander vs Michael ‘Chunky’ Devine. York Hall, Bethnal Green, 24th April, 2010. Video of fight.
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