Gallic God of War Samir Ziani has no intention of allowing the European super-featherweight crown he has worn for the past 19 months to slip from his concrete head, when he cracks skulls with Crayford contender Alex Dilmaghani this Saturday night in Wakefield, exclusively live on free-to-air Channel 5.
‘After Samir sees off Dilmaghani on Saturday, he’ll definitely hunt world honours,’ states the Frenchman’s Irish manager Gary Hyde, who previously steered brilliant Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux to world titles.
‘We’ve already had the talks with Top Rank regarding (WBO 130lb ruler) Jamel Herring once we’re able to get Samir a visa to enter the United States. That’s the plan and Alex Dilmaghani certainly isn’t going to spoil it.
The brutish French ogre, from the Toulouse suburb of Blagnac, has been grinding bones to make his bread for over 10 years and 264 pro rounds yet, despite warring with several champions across a host of countries, is yet to be toppled from his feet.
‘Samir’s got a granite chin, fantastic endurance and he’s scared of nobody,’ continues Corkman Hyde who assumed the managerial reins shortly before Ziani collared the EBU belt by smashing Spain’s Juli Giner in Barcelona (RTD6) in February 2019.
‘Even sparring welters, he’s never been over. He fought Richard Commey – a monstrous punching two-time world champion at the weight above – no bother at all. And Samir was a bit hard done by that night (Ziani lost a tight 10 round decision in Denmark in 2014). He was all set to fight Herring for the world title this summer until this Covid hit.’
Beyond the ropes, the 5ft 6in father to an infant son works with the region’s retail giant GiFi. Professionally, he has yielded just three times in 35 paid outings (one draw) and is presently world-ranked by both the WBC (15) and IBF (12). Now 30, he arrives in his physical prime.
‘Samir’s a bubbly little fella, a genuine family man, very pleasant with everyone….until he puts on the gloves!’ claims Hyde.
‘Most southpaws are counter punchers but not this fella. I’d not be giving away any secrets or game plans when I say Ziani fights only one way – in your face from first bell to last.
‘He’ll jump on top of ya, stay on top of ya so you’ve no choice but to fight with him. The punches come at ya, non-stop. He’s very hard to stave off. While he’ll not ‘spark’ Dilmaghani with one, he’ll catch him in abundance, wear him down until he ‘taps out’ or the ref rescues him.’
Mahogany-hard Ziani enters Saturday’s showdown with a huge sway in experience, having previously held minor WBC and WBA baubles at lightweight plus the French national belt down at 9st 4lbs. His CV lists more than double the rounds shown on ‘Dilma’s record. Whilst this is his bow in Britain, he has previously triumphed in Italy, the Ukraine, Morocco and Spain.
‘Samir also had on extensive amateur career, over 80 bouts,’ revealed manager Hyde.
‘As a pro for 10 years, he’s very well-travelled; a consummate professional who doesn’t mind where he fights. The ring might be in England on Saturday but Dilmaghani has no advantage, no home crowd, no home judges.
‘Mick Hennessy has been trying to do this for about 10 months and now we’re here. Dilmaghani’s come up short a few times already so this last chance. He has to win. All the pressure is on Alex, Samir is deadly cool.’
And the Irishman claims his turbo-charged ward shall be pounding some pain into the classy Crayford southpaw come Saturday.
‘The style’s will really match up well because Dilmaghani throws plenty himself. It’s going to be a right battle, all-action, but we’re not here to give up our titles,’ concludes Hyde.
‘I guarantee Samir will give it his very best shot on Saturday and we’re confident that will be more than enough.’