It would be a serious shortcoming to dismiss the courteous and articulate manner with which Alex Dilmaghani habitually carries himself in Civvy Street as any form of weakness.
All civility ceases once the law graduate from the University of Southampton slips into the sweatshop and trains with demonic fervour to fulfil his fate of wearing a world super-featherweight crown. And woe betide any man foolish enough to risk compromising those ambitions.
Nicaragua’s Francisco Fonseca might be an iron-fisted two time world title challenger but, having placed a temporary harness on Dilma’s dreams by pulling out due to last minute sickness from their WBA International set-to in late September, he has good cause for apprehension when he reconvenes with the Crayford southpaw with the IBO Super-Featherweight World title now on the line at London’s York Hall this Saturday (16th November), exclusively live on free-to-air Channel 5.
‘I think he saw how strong and healthy I was at the weigh-in and had second thoughts!” States Dilmaghani.
‘No one else in his team had any bug or food poisoning. Besides, I once won in Mexico when I was suffering from salmonella. But Francisco said he was ill and I heard that he had vomited in the changing room so I suppose you have to give him the benefit of the doubt. He’s been given a second chance and his team believe that I’m an easy fight. His trainer is the respected Rosendo Alvarez, Fonseca should take a leaf out of his book, a true warrior.’
Frustration at the unscripted interruption is understandable given that, for several years, pretender contenders in the 130lb weight class have swerved Dilmaghani as through he was riddled with leprosy.
Having survived and thrived in the harshest of fight clubs in the Mexico City slums as a fledgling pro, the 28 year old copped glowing reviews when he forced Slovakian strongman Martin Parlagi, who had never been stopped amateur or pro, to surrender during round eight of his heralded homecoming in Manchester last May. But Fonseca’s escapades have prevented Alex from ‘kicking on’ as he had hoped.
‘It was no one’s fault from our side; not Mick’s, not mine. After Parlagi, I was due to fight in Saudi in July on the Amir Khan undercard but there was a visa issue, then September, now November,’ he says.
‘But Mick has gone on record that I’m the toughest fighter he’s ever had to match and he’d managed to get the contracts done for Fonseca before so asked would I consider it again.
‘Obviously, I was apprehensive but it’d be difficult to find a similar level match. Fonseca ticks all the boxes; proven world class operator, ambitious. This time, I have assurances if, for any reason, the fight doesn’t happen.
‘Is their bad blood? Not really. Fonseca’s not done me or my family wrong. It’s just that I intend to be a great world champion and that involves beating whatever opponents are put in front of me. Francisco’s just a man in my way so I’ll bring it and take him out. No mercy.’
The re-scheduled fight has been shifted to the iconic East London fight hall, venue of the solitary stain on Dilma’s CV, but that does not faze him.
‘No need to mention that!’ quips Dilmaghani who was still a teenager when future Irish champ Mickey Coveney pipped him by a point back in June 2011 in his sole career loss, but has remained unbeaten in his 15 fights since.
‘Look, it was many years ago, a disputed four rounder but, if it had not been for that setback, at that stage, I’d not have uprooted to Mexico and made the adaptations that have brought my success, moulded me into what I’ve become.
‘Anyway, we’re fighting on the 16th and 16 has always been my lucky number – my brother was born on the 16th. Superstitions are for mentally weak people…..but I’ve previously fought four times in November and I’ve never lost a single round!
‘York Hall is such a historic venue. Over the years, many great, great fighters have fought and won there. On November 16th, I’ll become one of them!’
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.
Headline attraction on the card features Alex Dilmaghani versus Francisco Fonseca for the Vacant IBO Super-Featherweight Championship. Chief support sees 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; 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.
Tickets are available from MyFightTickets: https://myfighttickets.com/shop-1?olsPage=products%2Fhennessy-york-hall