Boxing Interviews: Wayne Alexander
By Daniel Davenport
Last week I caught up with Wayne Alexander for a chat about his 2004 fight with Mehrdud Takaloo for the WBU light middleweight title at the famous York Hall.
The stage was set for a hotly anticipated match up between two domestic boxers that had not only shared the same gym for many years but also spared hundreds of rounds together.
The rivalry started when both claimed to have got the better of each other in those hard spars.
Takaloo was saying that he had knocked Alexander out in one session, so with both being under Frank Warren it was an easy fight to make although it should have happened in 2003 but for Alexander to pull out through injury.
The fight was on the undercard of the heavyweight class between Michael Sprott and Robert Sulgan. I asked Alexander for his memories of the build up to the fight.
“I trained with John Breen in Belfast for the fight and had Eamon Magee, Jim Rock, Neil Sinclair, Paul McClusky and Martin Rogan in my camp, I locked myself away from my family which was hard not seeing my young daughter.
“I spared Jim Rock, Neil Sinclair, Eamon Magee and Paul MacClusky as well as some amateurs for speed for the fight. Jim Rock had fought Takaloo before so he could mimic Takaloo’s style for me.”
In the build up to most fights boxers will say they have had the best preparation but in truth this is not always the case, so how did his camp go?
“For this fight everything went perfectly well I never had any complaints or injuries at all, which was almost a first for me as part of my career had been hampered by more than my far share of injury setbacks.
“As fight week approached I felt excellent my weight was on point and I was buzzing with confidence.”
Alexander first to take his ring, walk dressed in a black vest with his daughters name Sadè on the waistband of his all black shorts he had the look of confidence knowing he had put everything into this camp.
Takaloo then stood poised to enter the ring with his trainer Jim McDonnell and world snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan part of his entourage. Referee Mickey Vann was the third man in the ring on the night.
The stage was set for what can only be described as a domestic grudge match between two hard hitting men that knew each other inside and out.
With this being billed as a crossroads bout for both men what game plan did Alexander have for such a crucial fight?
“I did have a game plan which was to put Takaloo under steady constant pressure,
The first round went to plan, so I was happy going back to the corner.”
The bell sounded for the second round and both boxers came out with intent but it was Alexander that landed with a few shots forcing his old foe towards the ropes but as he was looking to unload Takaloo landed with a huge body shot that would have put most light middleweights down.
“I was really hurt from that body shot, one more tap even on the same spot and I would have gone down.”
As Takaloo moved in to find that punch that could end the fight Alexander landed one of the best left hooks ever seen in a British ring.
“That knockout shot was a punch that I had been practicing since turning pro. The left hook from the roll, I practiced it on the pads in sparring and on the punch bag for years it worked out perfectly on that night when I needed it the most.”
Takaloo hit the canvas hard, the referee dispensed of the count with the fighters safety paramount. Alexander briefly celebrated as the punch landed was now looking on from the neutral corner with concern.
“When he was down on the canvas for a while I was concerned. I wouldn’t want to do any permanent damage to any boxer, I never hated Takaloo I just didn’t like him very much.”
Thankfully after some attention for the medics situated at ringside Takaloo soon returned to his feet.
Was this Wayne Alexander’s best moment in his career?
“The best moment of my career is a hard one between me winning the British title against Paul Samuels.
Boxing News called it the British Marvin Hagler vs Tommy Hearns or my victory over Takaloo with that left hook which many say was the best KO seen in a British boxing ring it’s hard to choose.”
Alexander went on to have four more fights winning three and losing his final bout, while Takaloo had a further seven fights winning four and losing three.