As Alex Dilmaghani heads into his crunch showdown with European Super-Featherweight Champion Samir Ziani this Saturday night live on Channel 5, he looks back at his brutal war with Francisco Fonseca last year.
The judges might have deprived Dilmaghani of the victory he felt he merited in his challenge for the vacant IBO Super-Featherweight crown last November, but the classy Crayford contender takes nothing but positives from his Fight of the Year contender with nuclear hitting Nicaraguan Fonseca last November.
Dashing ‘Dilma’ was ahead on all cards after eight rounds but when craniums crashed in round nine, the smooth southpaw was compromised by a horrific cut which severely impaired his vision. Still, he bravely staved off the lethal Latino over the final third to scoop a share of the spoils after 12 high grade but brutally violent rounds.
‘It certainly advanced me, gave greater awareness of my name to the fans in a potential Fight of the Year,’ claimed the articulate and intelligent Southampton University law graduate who remains unbeaten in over nine years and 15 fights (one No Contest).
‘The biggest improvement was to my confidence. I proved several intangibles. Firstly, I absorbed punches from a proven puncher which I knew already as I’ve never been down, amateur, pro or gym and I sparred some ‘killers’ in Mexico. Secondly, I showed heart to cope with a really bad cut and come through. Thirdly, I showed I could sustain a very high pace over a 12 round war. Whilst I always THOUGHT I could, now I KNOW I can.’
The Nicaraguan nightmare, a former two-time world title challenger who’d executed 20 of his 26 victims (just two losses) before the final bell, provided easily the stiffest test of Dilmaghani’s 11 years punching for pay. But the 29 year old ‘Plague’, who served his ring apprenticeship in the vicious gyms and brawl halls of Mexico City, passed the exam with distinction.
‘I don’t enjoy any fight. It’s simply work to me but it confirmed that I belong in world class,’ claimed Alex who now challenges Frenchman Samir Ziani for the European crown at a TV studio in South Kirkby this Saturday (5th). Channel Five broadcast live.
‘It was a ‘bad blood’ type of fight. All eyes were on me. I suppose I could’ve boxed more, moved to the side more, but we didn’t like each other. It was a put your balls on the table type of fight and I felt I beat him at his own game.
‘The butt in round nine didn’t just cut me, it concussed me. I guess it depends how you score but in the close rounds I was the aggressor. I thought I deserved to win. Fonseca might have thrown a few more but I landed cleaner. Afterwards, I felt fine, ready to go again a few days later. Clearly I’m cut from a different cloth.’
With business unfinished, supremacy unestablished, fight fans were left salivating for a replay but the principals have temporarily opted to tread alternative paths.
‘Fonseca wanted too much money for a rematch but it can still happen down the line,’ disclosed ‘Dilma’.
‘After sharing a war like that, of course there’s respect but we definitely don’t like each other. It’s intense!’