New British boxing star Alex Dilmaghani can’t wait for his first fight of 2020 and is confident he will win a World title after his riveting shoot-out with Francisco Fonseca last Saturday night at the York Hall.
The home of London boxing, that has featured many of the legends and epic fight nights of British boxing, served up another classic as modern-day warriors Dilmaghani and Fonseca went to war for the fans in the iconic hall and for the viewers on Channel 5 in the UK and around the world on YouTube.
They were scheduled to meet in September in Bolton but minutes before the ring walks were due to start, Fonseca was withdrawn by the BBBofC because of sickness. Promoter Mick Hennessy envisioned a barnstormer and potential Fight of the Year candidate back then and it proved to be right with both fighters delivering on the night.
Rescheduled for London and with the Vacant IBO World Super-Featherweight title on the line, the pair went straight into battle from the opening bell, setting a frenetic pace and fought at a blistering intensity around the middle of the ring from the first bell that remained throughout the whole of the action-packed contest.
The pair exchanged a high-volume of hurtful body-punches mixed with fast, hard, combinations and it was hard to separate them early on. Crayford’s classy Dilmaghani appeared to have the quicker hands, higher work-rate, better foot movement and defence by taking the punches on his arms and gloves, but Nicaraguan hardman Fonseca seemed to have the heavier hands and harder punches and was continually pushing forward.
In the ninth round a clash of heads resulted in Dilmaghani getting a bad cut above his left eye that his corner – with cuts man Kerry Kayes – did a superb job to stop it from getting worse and see their man get through to the final bell.
When the scores were read out at the end of the contest, Pawel Kardyni and Roberto Ramirez Jr both had a draw at 114-114, while British judge Howard Foster had it 115-114 to Fonseca.
Whilst Dilmaghani was disappointed not to have been given the nod by the judges’ and not have the IBO title in his possession, he was pleased with his performance and the exciting nature of the fight and believes it will only increase his value.
“I thought I won the fight,” Said Dilmaghani. “It was a very close fight, definitely before I got the cut in the ninth round I felt that I had won everything, overall I had it 8-4 or 7-5 in my favour,”
“It was a great fight and Fonseca was really up for it and gave it everything he had, so I take off my hat to him. It was a war and I felt that I proved that I’ve got the qualities of a great fighter, I’ve got a World class chin and showed I’ve got plenty of heart where people may have doubted it, I think everyone knows that now,”
“I thought that I could’ve boxed more and that is my only regret, but as it turned out I had to ‘war’ it out with him. The fans in the York Hall and viewers on Channel 5 and YouTube certainly got treated to a great fight,”
“I didn’t think Fonseca would last at that pace set from the first bell and I wanted to stop him by grinding him down, that was the game plane, but I couldn’t see out of my left eye from the ninth because of the cut,”
“I’ve got to let my cut heal and have a rest over Christmas, but I’ll be ready to go early next year for whatever my promoter Mick Hennessy has lined up. There’s an option to go down to featherweight, which I can make easily, and campaign there and I’m planned to fight four times next year. One of those will be for a World title and I’m confident that I will become World Champion. My name has certainly increased in awareness now and I’m all set for a big year ahead. I can’t wait.”
Hennessy was thrilled with the pulsating, all-action, fight and felt that his man had done enough to win, whilst surprised with the draw, he believes that the excitement of the fight has increased the Dilmaghani brand and put him in a great position to start 2020.
Hennessy said, “That fight to me is definitely the Fight of the Year, it was one of boxing’s night of nights and an absolutely awe-inspiring contest. Whilst it was called a draw by the judges’, the winner that night was the sport of boxing and Channel 5 for hosting such an incredible fight and the fans and the viewers were treated to a real barnstormer,”
“People think I was crazy about the things I was saying before hand about Alex, but I knew what he could do and he just needed a big fight to show what I was saying and the Fonseca fight was the one to bring it out of him. Now you can see why he’s avoided like the plague by his rivals out there,”
“Looking at the fight with a balanced view, I scored it 7-5 to Alex and the cut from the head clash in the ninth affected him as it impaired his vision. I believe that Alex had the better defence and was taking the majority of punches on his arms, gloves and elbows. That’s not taking away from Fonseca who proved himself to be a real warrior. Fonseca had plenty of time to prepare for Alex, probably around four months in total, including the first postponed fight. For the fights against Gervonta Davis and Tevin Farmer, Fonseca only two weeks’ and five weeks’ notice respectively and we knew he’d come in at his absolute best for Alex. Fonseca was huge at the weight and he’s a dangerous world class fighter when given the right notice,”
“We’ll have to see what opportunities present themselves to Alex before we make a decision going into the new year. The rematch with Fonseca is there, but we were going to move down to featherweight before the Fonseca opportunity arose as he makes super-feather too easy. The plan is for him to have four fights next year and make himself a major household name on Channel 5. I think now with all the fantastic publicity around this fight in the build up and the fight turning out how it did, it’s certainly put Alex up there and he will be a force to be reckoned with.”