ALEX DILMAGHANI: “THE EUROPEAN TITLE IS A REAL BELT AND NOT LIKE A PLASTIC ONE PICKED UP BY NUMPTIES”
Alex Dilmaghani says he’s going for a real belt tomorrow night when he aims to tear the European Super-Featherweight title from Champion Samir Ziani in Wakefield, live on Channel 5.
The Crayford ace is determined to capture the traditional belt before moving on and fighting one of his rivals and is happy to go up or down in weight to face top Brits Carl Frampton or Josh Warrington.
Dilmaghani said, “There’s plenty of plastic belts to be got by beating numpties but this is an exciting fight, a world eliminator, for a beautiful, traditional belt that gets you ranked in the world top five with the WBC and, I think, the IBF.”
“Wins over top names mean even more to me than belts. Samir’s well respected, a warrior like myself. No one can accuse me of padding my record…..a rarity! A legitimate fight, for a legitimate belt and a legitimate ranking.”
He was due to fight Ziani back in April, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the lockdown followed, the fight was postponed, but Dilmaghani put the time to good use and is now fully prepared to face the tough Frenchman.
“I’ve not found lockdown especially hard. I’ve had a relaxing time, catching up with family, movies, lots of reading. With stuff like Netflix and smart phones, this lockdown isn’t as difficult as one in prior eras might have been,”
“From a professional point, I’ve concentrated on more strength work plus fine-tuning my nutrition. I discovered allergies to eggs and bananas which I consumed almost on a daily basis but were causing stomach cramps,”
“Covid has shown the importance of maintaining good health. My weight is fantastic. I pretty much made fight weight at the check weigh-in yet I’m so strong, manhandling welterweights in sparring,”
“After doing some pad work at home with my brother, I’ve had eight weeks with my trainer Lee Wilkins. I’ve had great sparring with Ryan Walsh and Louis Greene,”
“I intend showing I can box and fight. In a 12 round fight, I intend showing every desirable attribute.”
Ziani, a former French and WBC & WBA International Champion, is the most accomplished fighter Dilmaghani as faced so far, the 29-year-old will be making the second defence of his European crown and this will be his first pro-fight in the UK after previously fighting in Spain, Denmark, Morocco, Ukraine and Italy in his 35-fight career.
With only three points losses, the granite chinned Ziani has never been floored and one of his losses was to the to the big-hitting former IBF World Lightweight Champion Richard Commey in a very tight fight that some had Ziani winning.
Dilmaghani is well aware of the threat Ziani poses, but believes he is well prepared with the extra months to get ready in the southpaw versus southpaw battle.
He said, “Samir’s a very tough guy, throws lots of punches, applies lots of pressure. But, technically, I’m far superior as will be evident on fight night. He’s not that much more experienced when you consider that he’s fought three fellas three times,”
“I respect him and his team but thoroughly expect to take his belt and his rankings,”
“I’ve prepared for 12 rounds at a frantic pace but if I clock him clean – right place, right time – and see him hurt, I’ll take him out,”
“Style wise, it’s an attractive match-up for terrestrial TV viewers,”
“I had Christian Arrazola over three times in the first round, I had a landslide against Tuomo Eronen. I’ve fought plenty and always get plenty of southpaw on southpaw sparring to practise combinations which work best against southpaws,”
“You’ve just got to be professional. Besides, the beauty of ‘behind closed doors’ is it’s a level playing field. No one’s at home or away. It’s impartial, no crowd influence.”
Providing he comes through against Ziani, Dilmaghani hopes that promoter Mick Hennessy can secure him a world title fight next year.
“Mick’s an experienced and influential guy and, after maybe one defence, I’d definitely expect to fight for a world title next year, even if it’s behind closed doors,” Added Dilmaghani.
“I intend to win in style. Every world class fighter should aim to impress every outing,”
“Boxing is evolving. Now there’s ice chambers and ever improving nutrition. Careers go on longer – Bernard Hopkins is proof of that. I’m still young and fresh, 29 not 49!”