Avoided like the plague: Alex Dilmaghani interview

Paul Zanon
23/10/2019 8:03am


In the August edition of Boxing Monthly magazine, Crayford resident Alex Dilmaghani, 19-1, spoke with Mick Gill about his incredible journey to date. Paul Zanon catches up with the affable super featherweight to discuss the fight which never happened and what the future holds for the 28-year-old southpaw.

BM No nicknames as yet?

AD: They call me ‘The Plague’ because I’m avoided!

BM: On 28 September you were all ready to fight Nicaraguan Francisco Fonseca. If victorious you would have won your first belt, the WBA International super featherweight title and climbed further up the world rankings. How much did you flog yourself in training for this one?

AD: I’m always training very hard, but for this I really, really pushed it. I was sparring welterweights and light middleweights. It was hard as I went that bit further.

BM: The fight was cancelled, literally at the last minute. Take me through your memories of when you were told and how you felt?

AD: It was five minutes to nine [pm] and I was due to walk out at nine, which is when the live show started on Channel 5. Then a guy from the British Boxing Board of Control came to me and said, ‘Alex. The fight is off.’ I remember thinking, ‘It can’t be this close to the fight. I saw him coming in about an hour previously, so surely that can’t be right?’ I said to the guy, ‘Are you joking?’ He replied very seriously, ‘The fight is definitely off.’

I took my boxing gear off and got into my normal clothes and just sat there sad. I couldn’t believe it. Then I get told, ‘You’re fighting in an hour.’ So I got my clothes back on again, warmed up and got ready. Then shortly after, ‘Alex. The fight is off.’ I’ve never had that before so close to a fight. From now on, until the fighter has done his ring walk and is actually standing in front of me in the ring, I’m not assuming anything.

As you imagine, I was pissed off. I’m not sure about other fighters, but I like to plan what I do after a fight. There’s certain things I want to spend my money on, things I want to eat and how I want to relax. Not having that fight didn’t allow me to do that, which was very frustrating and made me angry.

I’m 28-years-old and at a point of my career where I’m knocking on the door now. For me, it wasn’t so much about the belt, but this was kind of like a world title eliminator per se. I knew I was going to do a job on him, and the money thing – it was all frustrating.

It took about three days for it to sink in properly, but I was back in the gym the Monday after. It has happened before and as the expression goes, there’s no point in crying over spilt milk.

BM: You’re back in action on 16 November. Any idea of your opponent?

AD: Not yet, but there’s a possibility it could be Francisco Fonseca, but Mick [Hennessy] is going to have a back up opponent just in case!

BM: Your last fight was on 25 May this year against Slovakian Martin Parligi, who you stopped in eight rounds. By the time you enter the ring in November, you won’t have fought for six months. How tough has that been mentally?

AD: I’ve had bad luck. In July I couldn’t get a visa to fight in Saudi Arabia and then this [Fonseca] happened in September. It wasn’t my fault, Mick’s or anybody else’s, it’s just been frustrating, especially as all you’re doing is training, training, training and then you don’t fight an opponent. But that’s boxing.

In terms of the fight in November – I won’t be rusty. I always keep myself in good condition and train Monday to Saturday. I train hard, eat healthy, but don’t push my body to the absolute limits everyday, otherwise I’d burn out. This is my job. My career. I don’t do anything else but boxing. If I had another job, say as a labourer, then I’d be burnt out.

BM: Any other super featherweights in the UK or beyond that you’d like to call out?

AD: The top in the UK is Scott Quigg. I’d definitely like to fight him. Outside of the UK – Jemel Herring. He’s the world champion to beat. That said, Tevin Farmer is another I’d love to fight. For me though, the best out there at 130lbs at the moment is Gervonta Davis, but I think he’s moving up to lightweight.

I can also make featherweight, so Josh Warrington, as the best featherweight out there, is also somebody I’d like to fight, but I’d need a tune up fight at featherweight first. In fact, after this fight [on 16 November], the plan is to go down to featherweight.

BM: How much more of Alex Dilmaghani can we expect to see in 2020?

AD: Much more. It’s going to be a very busy year, rammed with big names. I’m hoping to fight four times, but against good opponents. Hopefully 2020 I can become world champion.