Tonight British fight fans finally get to savour the top-class domestic contender who promoter Mick Hennessy describes as “boxing’s best kept secret”. The highly regarded super-feather Alex Dilmaghani returns to roost at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse as he begins his hunt for Frampton, Galahad and Warrington.
With Channel 5 cameras rolling live, the slick and super savvy southpaw resurfaces from an anonymous five year stint in the rough and tough finishing schools of Mexico City and Toronto to flaunt his considerable wares in a tasty 12 round international tear-up against Slovakian beast Martin ‘Cracker’ Parlagi.
‘When I review my career, later in life, I intend to have been involved in big fights. I expect to become a world champion and a great fighter,’ declares the 27 year old Southampton University law graduate.
‘Early in my career, I saw others focussing more on selling tickets than developing as fighters. So I fled to educate myself at boxing’s best ‘universities’ in Mexico City. I sparred several world champions including the great Juan Manuel Marquez.
‘Now, thanks to Mick (Hennessy, his new manager-promoter), I return to Britain as a potential bill-topper. I believe Mick has already pencilled in a few more statement fights for this year and I trust him to deliver ‘good and often’.
‘My mum and brother who are very important to me are both here (Dad passed away when Alex was very young) and boxing is booming in Britain right now. In terms of support and interest, if not talent, it’s probably the world leader. The British sell out stadiums.’
Dilmaghani is not shy of stating his ambitions, he wants the big showdowns and is prepared to drop down to 126lbs to face leading domestic names Carl Frampton and the winner out of Josh Warrington’s fight against Kid Galahad.
He said, “I’m back on these shores now and I’m campaigning to fight the best in the country and that’s the trio of Frampton, Warrington and Galahad. I feel I’m ready now to be let off the leash against them and the thought of fighting any of them gets my juices flowing. I’m in the business to fight the best and to prove myself so I’ll have to force myself into the mix, but I’m confident in my abilities and know I could handle any of them.”
The Iranian descendant first entered the professional ranks at the age of just 17 and with negligible amateur breeding.
‘I’d always been a real student of the game, reading books about the old-time greats like Sam Langford, Jack Johnson and Charley Burley. But I never got actively involved. The nearest gym was some way away and, besides, I enjoyed my food!’ quips the 5ft 8in contender who is now coached by the upwardly-mobile Lee Wilkins at the Body Shots Gym in Crayford.
‘I finally started at the Whitehawk ABC in Brighton when I was away at university. I only had a handful of amateur fights but won them all bar one when I was blatantly, blatantly robbed. Though I was only 17, Ronnie Davies (long-time coach to the Eubank clan) told me I was more than good enough to go pro.’
With one sole early points loss in career, he has remained undefeated in eight years and 14 fights since, expanding his global fan club with five wins in Mexico and a further seven in Canada. So what can U.K fans expect from his homecoming this weekend?
‘I compare myself to (Hall of Fame ex world light-middle champ) Winky Wright. Aggressive yet defensive minded. It’s not just because I’m relatively academic but I’ve developed a good boxing brain,’ claims Dilmaghani who has stopped four of his last six.
‘I’m an all-rounder. Very quick with a great chin. I’ve never been close to getting knocked down. And I fully respect the sport. Boxing is like a prison term. I’ve learned to live the life. Eat right, avoid idiots.’
Though heavyweight Hughie Fury formally headlines Saturday’s card, ace Alex intends to be the name on everyone’s lips once the duelling is done.
‘Every time I step between the ropes, it’s my intention to impress,’ says Dilmaghani.
‘Parligi brings a good amateur pedigree and has had a lot of pro fights, more wins than me. I’ve studied tapes and he’s a rough, tough operator but, trust me, I tamed plenty of those over in Mexico!
‘Boxing is a nasty, dangerous business so I always wish the opposition good health but whatever Martin brings I’ll have the answer for. I have everything over him; speed, technique, stamina, youth…
‘I expect to put on a fantastic show and probably stop him. I train way, way too hard for opponents to last the 12 round distance with me!’