Dilmaghani takes peripatetic route to glory

Shawn Smith
20/02/2017 7:35am

Photos by Bob Levesque

Shawn Smith speaks to English born boxer Alex Dilmaghani, who has travelled to Mexico and now Canada to pursue his world title ambitions...

A longtime boxing fan and occasional partaker in the Sweet Science, Ernest Hemingway was known for his wisdom with words and clever, simple phrases.

One of his best known quotes was “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” For the United Kingdom’s Alex Dilmaghani (12-1), now a resident of Toronto, truer words have never been spoken.

A tireless worker, he has travelled the world in search of the kind of training which will improve his craft of boxing and allow him to pursue his eventual dream of capturing a world championship.

Indeed, the slick punching lightweight doesn’t think a 2018 world title shot is out of the question.

Dilmaghani expects to return to the ring in April under manager Lee Baxter of Lee Baxter Promotions, hopefully in his newfound home of Toronto.

“The biggest thing about me is that I’m always scrutinising my technique; I’m always trying to learn, trying to study fighters,” Dilmaghani said of his approach to boxing. “A lot of people just listen to their trainer, but sometimes you’ve gotta do your work yourself.”

He fell in love with the sport around the age of 12, studying all the great fighters that appeared on his television screen. IMG 7318

Before he had even tried boxing gloves on for the first time, the chubby little kid from Brighton was already studying the sport, falling in love with it more by the day.

“I don’t know what sparked it in me, but at 12 or 13 I fell in love with boxing,” Dilmaghani said. “I was a student of the game before I even boxed. I used to read the Boxing Encyclopedias.”

At 17, he finally started to take training more seriously. While in school, he was just as focused on straight As as he was his straight jab.

Two years later after racking up a professional record of 3-0, he signed a three-year deal with Hatton Promotions. Dilmaghani fought five more times in the United Kingdom, running his record to 7-1 before taking his career to Mexico.

An admirer of the Mexican style, who cites Julio Cesar Chavez as one of his favourite fighters, Dilmaghani went to the boxing mecca in search of the kind of training that would make him a world champion.

There he trained with Nacho Beristain amongst others, and there are videos online of him sparring with Juan Manuel Marquez.

“The biggest thing I took away is hunger,” Dilmaghani said of his time in Mexico. “Fighters training in England and Canada don’t always have that hunger. In Mexico City where I was, everyone is hungry. There’s hungry food wise and hungry to be a success. The work ethic is what I took away. For instance, some fighters have a six-round fight and they take three weeks off from the gym. These guys have a ten-round fight and they’re back in the gym on Monday. They have to get back to it to feed their families."

Dilmaghani added four more wins to his record while in Mexico, driving his record to 11-1.
As fate would have it, Canadian promoter Lee Baxter caught wind of Dilmaghani through Instagram and the two hit it off.

“We spoke back and forth and he said I should come to Toronto, he wanted to take a look at me in person,” Dilmaghani said. “People can make themselves look great on Instagram. I went up there and after he saw me spar the first time he said he definitely wanted to work with me.”

Since arriving in Toronto, Dilmaghani has gone 1-0-1, with the no-contest coming on an injury during a February 2017 clash with Mexican Larami Carmona on a card in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

He’ll be training with Philadelphia-based trainer Billy Briscoe for his upcoming April bout, the same trainer recent world title challenger Samuel Vargas works with.

“I’m in this to be a world champion,” Dilmaghani said. “I’d like to look back one day with a good amount of money and say I fought some good fighters. I want to go down as a great fighter.”

While Dilmaghani isn’t clear on what his 2017 schedule will look like, he did say he expects to stay busy between now and July before Baxter tries to make a bigger fight for later in the year.

“By the end of this year, I’d like to be in position to start knocking on the door of a world title shot,” he added.