|Final undercard additions confirmed for Ruiz vs. Joshua 2|
Heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte has landed a spot on the colossal Andy Ruiz Jr vs. Anthony Joshua 2 World title rematch taking place at the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia on Saturday December 7, shown live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN in the US.
Whyte will take on Poland’s former World title challenger Mariusz Wach in his first fight back since climbing off the canvas to outpoint Oscar ‘Kaboom’ Rivas in an exciting battle at The O2 in London back in July that saw him move to 26-1 (18 KOs).
Wach (35-5, 19 KOs) was due to face Whyte back in 2017 before ‘The Body Snatcher’ withdrew from their contest with an injured foot, but ‘The Viking’, a former opponent of Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin, will now have the opportunity to lock horns with Whyte following back to back wins in his homeland.
Fellow Brit Tom Little (10-7, 3 KOs) will also be targeting a huge upset on the undercard as he takes on Mahammadrasul Majidov (1-0, 1 KO), the former world amateur champion.
Alexander Povetkin’s explosive encounter with Michael Hunter has already been confirmed, along with Filip Hrgovic’s step-up in class against Eric Molina on an action-packed evening of Heavyweight fights.
The talented young duo of Leeds Super-Bantamweight Hopey Price (1-0) and Los Angeles Super-Middleweight Diego Pacheco (7-0, 6 KOs) will also be eager to impress at Diriyah Arena.
“I’m delighted to be fighting in Saudi Arabia against Mariusz Wach,” said Whyte. “He’s probably got one of the best chins in the Heavyweight division.
“I have been training and working hard to fight so it’s great to get a date and it’s very exciting for me to be fighting somewhere different like Saudi Arabia.
“I want to fight in different places and different settings and this card has the biggest Heavyweight fight on it that we have seen in years.
“I’m just going to keep chasing the World titles, so if I keep winning then I hope to land that World title shot in 2020, that’s the plan for December 7.”
“This wraps up a huge card for what will be a historic night for the sport,” said Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom Boxing. “Ten big Heavyweights will descend on Diriyah to cause a shockwave through World boxing as Saudi Arabia hosts one of the biggest Heavyweight fights of all time. Ten days to go!”
Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing, said: “Anthony Joshua’s epic rematch night has even more heavyweight fireworks as Dillian Whyte battles Mariusz Wach on a bill which is brimming with big punchers.
“Whyte will be seeking to showcase his power against the battle-hardened Mariusz Wach, while the likeable Tom Little receives a dream fight against Mahammadrasul Majidov, the former world amateur champion.
“Hopey Price and Diego Pacheco are also keen to display their talent on a momentous night for the sport as we build towards Joshua’s spectacular showdown with Ruiz Jr.”
|Remaining last few tickets on sale at www.diriyahseason.sa|
Heavyweight World Champion Andy Ruiz Jr has vowed to “make history again” as he landed in Saudi Arabia for the Clash On The Dunes, bringing his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO title belts with him.
The Mexican-American fighter followed his challenger Anthony Joshua into the Kingdom, touching down at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh in the early hours of today to set up his own training camp to prepare for the epic bout on December 7.
The first-ever Heavyweight World Title fight to take place in the Middle East will be staged in the custom-built 15,000 seat Diriyah Arena which is now ready for action in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage site, known as the home of heroes and kings.
When asked how he felt about boxing in the Kingdom for the first time, Andy Ruiz said: “It feels good. You know I made history in New York and I’ll make history again in Saudi Arabia.”
Joshua will be looking to regain the title belts on the line after losing them to Ruiz – known as ‘The Destroyer’ – at their first meeting in New York earlier this year.
With hundreds of fans from throughout the US travelling for the bout, the collective number of kilometers travelled by Americans is a significantly larger commitment than any other fans from across the world, with tickets sold in 60 different countries. But his fans will have to their work cut out to match the volume of Joshua’s followers with thousands flying in from the UK.
A world-class undercard will support the compelling main draw, but even before they reach the arena fans will be knocked out by what is waiting for them.
Spectators will approach the Diriyah Arena via the Diriyah Oasis, a huge sprawling entertainment hub which includes ice-skating outdoors, sky diving, jetski-ing and ziplining among a host of activities on offer. The Diriyah Oasis is split into the four zones – Nature, Imagination, Reflection, Excitement- giving families a place to come together, and at its heart lies an astonishing grand installation by world-renowned Italian artist, Edoardo Tresoldi.
The Clash On The Dunes forms part of the Diriyah Season, epic month of sports which kicked off with Formula E at the weekend, the Diriyah Tennis Cup featuring eight of the best men’s players on the planet, and the Diriyah Equestrian Festival, an elite competition with Tokyo Olympics 2020 qualifying points on the line.
The Diriyah Season is also supported by the Diriyah Music Festival with huge concerts taking place around the event. On December 6, the night before the Clash On The Dunes, major artists who are yet to be announced will perform. So far artists such as Imagine Dragons, DJ Alan Walker, Clean Bandit and Maluma have performed to 40,000 concert goers.
Tickets for all of the Diriyah Season’s spectacular events, concerts and entertainment will be available at www.diriyahseason.sa. Follow Diriyah Season’s news and announcements on the official social media pages on twitter and Instagram @diriyahseason.
About Diriyah Season
Diriyah Season is an unmissable set of international sports and entertainment events, happening at the historic city of Diriyah, the birthplace of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Sports fanatics, entertainment seekers, foodies and shoppers, are invited to a month of energy, excitement, elegance, and memorable moments as the world comes to Diriyah!
Watch the world’s top sporting events:
· Diriyah E-Prix 2019: The thrilling electric race returns with a double-header race weekend – 2 Races on Friday and Saturday, November 22 & 23
· A Historic Clash, known to the world as ‘Clash On The Dunes’ where Andy Ruiz Jr defends his title against Anthony Joshua for the World Heavyweight Championship
· A Battle for Glory as 8 of the world’s top Tennis stars compete for the ‘Diriyah Tennis Cup’
· Diriyah Equestrian Festival on December 12th, 13th, 14th, 19th, 20th and 21st , where contestants from all over the world will be one with their horses to qualify for TOKYO 2020
Tourist Visa Entry to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Entry into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has changed for tourists visiting the country and the process is a simple online application.
Available to complete online, visitors can follow four easy steps which take just a few minutes to complete.
Step One: visit www.visa.visitsaudi.com
Step Two: Fill the application
Step Three: Pay the Visa fee
Step Four: Get your online Visa
Applications are often processed within a 48 hour period, with residents from 49 approved countries worldwide having their visas available through the fast track system.
Promoter Mick Hennessy is delighted to announce that Alex Dilmaghani’s all-action showdown with Francisco Fonseca on Saturday 16 November had a total reach of just under 2 millionviewers on free-to-air Channel 5.
Hot Crayford talent Dilmaghani stepped up to face Nicaragua’s hard-hitting former Two-Time World Title Challenger, Fonseca, with the Vacant IBO World Super-Featherweight Championship on the line, headlining London’s iconic boxing venue The York Hall.
In an exhilarating encounter, Dilmaghani and Fonseca went to war from the first to the last bell with both men fighting at a ferocious pace. Dilmaghani bravely fought through a bad cut sustained from a head clash in the ninth round that hampered the vision in his left eye with the fight scored a draw on the judges’ scorecards, but it is surely a contender for the Fight of the Year award.
The show’s total reach on Channel 5 was just under 2 million and the peak was over 1million during the live two hour show and considering it was broadcast at the same time as the controversial Newsnight Prince Andrew interview, the viewing figures proved to be very impressive.
In addition, this was the first time Dilmaghani had headlined an event and also the first time he was the main attraction live on Channel 5.
Dilmaghani is thrilled that his brutal battle against Fonseca has taken his profile and career to a new level and is looking forward to a massive 2020 when he will again contend for a world title.
Shortly after his fight he posted on his Instagram page: “It’s crazy how my life has changed in such little time. Early last year I was sleeping at the back of the gym in -20 weather with no heating. In the last month I’ve been featured in national newspapers including the times, recently arrived on the world stage and main eventing on national television. Now it’s only going to get bigger and better. 2020 I become world champ. Persistence and pressure are the fundamental foundations of success in life.”
Mick Hennessy, Hennessy Sports’ CEO, said, “I’m extremely pleased that the fight peaked at over a million live viewers and just shy of 2 million in total on Channel 5. These are fantastic figures and we have a proven track record in building boxing stars on Channel 5. It was a riveting and pulsating fight and certainly one of the best I’ve seen in a very long time and I’m delighted that the crowd at the York Hall and the Channel 5 viewers were treated to such a spectacle. I’m more that happy with the public and media’s reaction towards Alex’s world class potential and that will come to fruition next year when he will again challenge for a World title. Alex’s highly anticipated return in 2020 is planned for mid-February to early March and I can’t wait.”
|Manchester Heavyweight promises improvements in Monaco|
|Hughie Fury has promised his fans that they will see a “hungrier” version of him when he takes on the Czech Republic’s Pavel Sour at the Casino de Monte-Carlo on Saturday November 30 , live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.|
The 25-year-old contender returns to the ring three months after his points loss to former World Champion Alexander Povetkin at The O2 in London seeking to rise back up the rankings and secure another shot at one of the top Heavyweights in the world.
“I’m delighted to return so soon after my last fight with Povetkin,” said Fury. “I feel I’ve much more to give and want to keep active and improving my game.
“After my fight I took a week off and then got straight back into training as I’ve little to celebrate and can’t think of holidays when things are not going right. I’m stronger and fitter than ever before and you will see a big difference on Saturday. “Monaco holds a special place for me as I’ve more or less spent a lot of my younger years growing up there. My parents lived there and we have had many training camps there over the years, so it’s really nice to be fighting on such a high class show.” Fury (23-3, 13 KOs) has been fearless in taking on the world’s leading Heavyweight contenders and hopes that an impressive showing in Monaco will encourage his promoter Eddie Hearn and management team MTK Global to deliver him a World title opportunity in 2020.
“The fans will see a hungrier fighter, and no matter what adversity comes my way I will keep pressing as I know all of the fighters out there are not above me. It’s what I’m doing wrong myself. “There are no excuses, I’m back and ready to achieve my main ambitions in life. I hope this opportunity will put me straight back in the mix for another top fight, and Eddie and my team will be the judge of that after my fight.”
Fury vs. Sour is part of a big night of World title action in Monte-Carlo.
Main event sees undefeated Russian Welterweight talents Alexander Besputin (13-0, 9 KOs) and Radzhab Butaev (12-0, 9 KOs) collide for the vacant WBA World title, Norway’s Cecilia Braekhus (35-0, 9 KOs) and Argentina’s Victoria Bustos (19-5) battle it out to become the number one Welterweight on the planet when they clash for the IBF, WBA, WBO, WBC and IBO crowns in a huge undisputed showdown, China’s unbeaten Heavyweight star Zhilei Zhang (20-0, 16 KOs) returns to the ring to take on Ukraine’s Andriy Rudenko (32-4, 20 KOs) and rising Welsh talent Joe Cordina (10-0, 7 KOs) steps down in weight to take on Enrico Tinoco (18-5-4, 13 KOs) for the WBA Continental Super-Featherweight title.
SAM BOWEN HAS been accused of looking beyond his next opponent by the man himself, Anthony Cacace.
British champion Bowen makes his mandatory and second defence of his Lonsdale belt as part of a title-laden show at Arena, Birmingham on Saturday night against the highly-rated Belfast operator Cacace, who previously challenged for the honour in July 2017 against Martin J Ward.
The narrow defeat on the cards saw Cacace consigned to the shelf with few willing to risk their records against the tricky southpaw and he has been limited to two relatively low key fights in the 28 months since.
For his part, Bowen too has endured a period of absence due to a back injury, during which time his English rivals Archie Sharp and Zelfa Barrett have propelled themselves to the forefront with impressive title wins.
Now back in the thick of media activity promoting his Cacace defence, Bowen was naturally forced to field numerous questions over the progress and prospects of his potential challengers, who all hail from the same promotional camp.
Cacace insists only one name should be in the thoughts of the 27-year-old known as ‘Bullet’.
“Sam Bowen is overlooking me,” said the 30-year-old with a record of 17-1. “All I hear is him talking about Zelfa Barrett and Archie Sharp and that’s going to be his undoing.”
The man known as the ‘The Apache’ went on to throw shade at the impressive unbeaten record of Bowen, which stands at 15-0, claiming his own ledger contains a name carrying greater kudos than anyone shot down by The Bullet.
“My knockout win over Ronnie Clark is more impressive than anything on Sam Bowen’s record,” continued Cacace, who also brought into question Bowen’s ability to comfortably make the weight. “Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good fighter but I think they are overhyping him a bit.
“I think he may have weight issues and he’s not been as active as he once was. I think he’s stepping up in this one and I’m going to test him on every level!”
Sam Bowen v Anthony Cacace for the British super featherweight championship features on a stacked night of title action at Arena, Birmingham on November 30. WBO world bantamweight champion Zolani Tete defends his title against mandatory challenger John Riel Casimero and British and Commonwealth welterweight champion Chris Jenkins makes a defence against Liam Taylor. Lerrone Richards also takes on Lennox Clarke for the Commonwealth and vacant British super middleweight belt.
Sam Maxwell defends his WBO European super lightweight title against the also unbeaten Connor Parker from Derbyshire, while Hamzah Sheeraz will fight for his first major title at super welterweight.
Thrilling prospects Dennis McCann, Shabaz Masoud, Eithan James and George Davey also feature on the bill, along with talents from the local region in Nathan Heaney and River Wilson-Bent.
Tickets are available now from £40 via Ticketmaster and TheTicketFactory
£250 – Inner Ring Hospitality
£150 – Floor
£100 – Floor
£75 – Floor
£50 – Lower Tier
£40 – Upper Tier
17:00 FIRST BELL
4 x 3 mins Lightweight contest
MARCUS MOLLOY 9st 11lbs v JAMIE QUINN 9st 10lbs 8oz
6 x 3 mins Super-Lightweight contest
STEPHEN SMITH 10st v JONNY PHILLIPS 10st
18:00 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS FACEBOOK
12 x 3 mins Final Eliminator for British Lightweight Title
JAMES TENNYSON 9st 8lbs 12oz v CRAIG EVANS 9st 8lbs
19:00 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS
10 x 3 mins Eliminator for British Super-Lightweight Title
TOM FARRELL 10st v SEAN DODD 9st 13lbs 14oz
10 x 3 mins vacant WBA International Super-Welterweight Title
ANTHONY FOWLER 10st 13lbs 13oz v HARRY SCARFF 10st 12lbs 15oz
12 x 3 mins vacant Commonwealth Cruiserweight Title
CRAIG GLOVER 14st 2lbs 5oz v CHRIS BILLAM-SMITH 14st 2lbs 11oz
12 x 3 mins WBA World, WBC Diamond & Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight Titles
CALLUM SMITH 11st 13lbs 7oz v JOHN RYDER 11st 13lbs 7oz
4 x 3 mins Super-Lightweight contest
TOM AITCHISON 10st 2lbs 7oz v MATIJA PETRINIC 9st 13lbs 9oz
6 x 3 mins Light-Heavyweight contest
THOMAS WHITTAKER-HART 12st 10lbs 7oz v JOSIP PERKOVIC 12st 12lbs 10oz
IN A HUGE END TO THE YEAR for Heavyweight boxing, the most exciting prospect in the sport Daniel Dubois has had his say on who will reign supreme once the New Year rolls around.
In an explosive interview ‘Dynamite’ also declared he’d be hunting down big name rivals throughout 2020, targeting fighters such as Joseph Parker and Alexander Povetkin.
Looking at the more immediate picture, he believes that Deontay Wilder will “knock Luis Ortiz out in devastating fashion” but struggled to predict the finish to Joshua vs Ruiz
“Obviously Ruiz got the job done last time out, but let’s see what happens.”
He added: “No one should underestimate Anthony Joshua as he’s done a lot for the sport but if he hasn’t improved on last time he could be in trouble.”
The young gun went on to question AJ’s appetite for the game: “If he’s still got the hunger he had years ago, he might have a chance.”
Asked to pick between the 4 fighters currently atop the Heavyweight tree, ‘Dynamite’ suggested all roads lead to Fury vs Wilder 2.
“Deontay would beat AJ and Ruiz. He has too much power, too much killer instinct. He’d knock them both out”.
“Tyson beats both of them, too. Whoever wins in the Wilder and Fury rematch is the man… for now”
Daniel, 13-0 with 12 KO’s, is considered the next big thing in Heavyweight boxing and always has one eye on developments in the division.
“I’m always watching. Those are the 4 biggest names in the sport, but also Usyk, Kownacki, Parker, Povetkin… Everyone has an opinion on who I should fight.”
“Someone told me yesterday that Parker was annoyed that his promoter can’t get him fights. As the busiest Heavyweight in boxing, i’d be happy to give him work.”
When the topic of fighting one of the so-called big 4 came up, Daniel would simply say that “i’m ready for anyone.”
Dubois, under the guidance of promoter Frank Warren, has made it clear that he is planning an assault on the major World Titles in the near future.
In the short term, though, he is after fights that improve his rankings and acquire coveted silverware.
Next up is Japanese Heavyweight Kyotaro Fujimoto, ranked #12 with the WBA, for the WBO International and WBC Silver Title.
“I’m looking forward to getting out again and continuing my rise to the top. Fujimoto is a serious fighter, we’re preparing well and come December 21st I intend to put on a show stopping performance.”
“I don’t look past people, I go through them. Fujimoto is a big step on my route to being the unified world champion.”
So whilst Dubois may be predicting either Fury or Wilder to reign supreme in the short term, he’s clearly backing himself to be the man left standing when the dust settles on the Heavyweight division.
Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions are heading to the Copper Box Arena to stage a bumper night of boxing on December 21st.
Unbeaten Heavyweight sensation Daniel Dubois (13-0) looks to continue his path of destruction against Japan’s Kyotaro Fujimoto (21-1). The WBC Silver Heavyweight championship and the WBO International Heavyweight belts will be on the line.
Light Heavyweight prospect and Love Island star Tommy Fury (2-0) makes his long awaited return to the boxing ring after winning the hearts of the nation on the popular ITV reality television show over the summer.
|Liverpool Cruiserweight fired up ahead of must-win Billam-Smith clash|
Craig Glover has promised to knockout Chris Billam-Smith when they meet for the vacant Commonwealth Cruiserweight title at The M&S Bank Arena Liverpool on Saturday, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.
The Tony Bellew-managed Liverpool prospect suffered a shock upset at the hands of Vaclav Pejsar last time out at the arena back in March, hitting the canvas twice before being stopped in the second round. He bounced back from the second defeat of his pro career by outpointing Jiri Svacina over six rounds in July.
Standing in the way of his first title success is Bournemouth’s Billam-Smith, who went the distance with Londoner Richard Riakporhe in a close battle for the WBA Inter-Continental title at The O2 earlier this year. The pair know each other well having sparred six rounds in 2018 but Glover insists that any respect between them will go out of the window once the bell rings.
“This is a massive opportunity and it’s something that I’m going to take with both hands,” said Glover. “I’ve shown Chris the respect during the build-up but come Saturday night there won’t be any respect. I’m going to put it right on him and knock him out. It doesn’t go twelve rounds. It’s going to be a war, 100%.
“Sometimes things happen for a reason and in that loss, I learnt more than I did in probably all of my wins. You can look at a record and think ‘oh he’s knocking a lot of people out’, but you’re not really learning things. Coming from that loss I learnt a lot and I’m going to take that into this fight. I know exactly what I need to do and I’m going to do it.
A relative novice in the amateur code, Glover made his pro debut at Goodison Park in November 2016 with third round stoppage over Darren Snow. His first defeat in the paid code came when he narrowly lost to Jake Bonnalie in 2017.
He quickly recovered from that defeat, building his ledger with a number of solid wins throughout the UK and scoring some sensational knockouts along the way against durable international opposition. Despite this, the 28-year-old knows it would be a long road back if he were to suffer another loss on home soil this weekend.
“It’s a must-win fight for the both of us so it’s all on the line. I’ve trained properly and prepared properly. In my mind it’s just about winning and beating Billam-Smith. The title is obviously massive but I’ve just got to win this fight at all costs.
“I think it’s going to gel and potentially be fight of the night. The only thing that matters is me winning this fight though. There’s big fights out there but this is the only fight that I’m thinking of. This is the fight that I’ve got to win and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Glover vs. Billam-Smith is part of a huge night of action in Liverpool.
Main event sees Liverpool’s Callum Smith (26-0, 19 KOs) defend his WBA World, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight titles against John Ryder (28-4, 16 KOs), Anthony Fowler (10-1, 8 KOs) meets Harry Scarff (8-0, 1 KO) for the WBA International Super-Welterweight title, James Tennyson (25-3, 21 KOs) and Craig Evans (20-2-2, 3 KOs) square-off in a final eliminator for the British Lightweight title, Tom Farrell (17-2, 5 KOs) clashes with Sean Dodd (16-5-1, 3 KOs) in a must-win encounter for both men Liverpool Light-Heavyweight talent Thomas Whittaker-Hart (3-0, 1 KO) aims to end his first year as a pro in style, former World title challenger Stephen Smith (27-4, 15 KOs) returns and Liverpool Super-Lightweight Marcus Molloy (1-0) and Skelmersdale Welterweight Tom Aitchson (1-0) both go for their second win in the pro ranks.
|Mandatory challenger believes he can “exploit” ‘Mundo’|
John Ryder has warned Callum Smith that he is ready to rip his WBA Super-Middleweight World title away from him and shatter his Anfield dream when they collide at the M&S Bank Arena Liverpool on Saturday, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.
Despite heading into this weekend’s all-British showdown coming off the back of four big knockout wins that secured him the No 1 ranking in the WBA and earned him the interim World title, Ryder believes he is being overlooked by Liverpool’s Smith.
“I’m being overlooked but he is the World Champion and the city’s big dream of a show at Anfield,” said Ryder. “He is the front-runner but I’m coming to cause the upset and, if I beat Smith, there will be no Anfield show. They might need to find a new headliner.”
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, the four-weight World Champion, is expected to return in May and ‘Mundo’ is hoping to be on the shortlist of his opponents. Billy Joe Saunders and Gennadiy Golovkin also count among Smith’s options if he retains his belt, but Ryder is ready to derail those plans and secure a mega-fight for himself.
“There have been a lot of highs and lows in my career so even fighting for a World title would have been a dream not so long ago. But now it’s here. In reality, without taking your eye off the ball, you do look at the carrot that’s being dangled. There are super-fights with big, massive names in America and you can’t help but to get excited.
“Winning would make be No 1 in the division and Canelo has proved that he likes to take on the top dogs, so you never know. But Smith is No 1 for a reason and I can’t take my eye off the ball with him.
“He hasn’t put a foot wrong, looked good in beating George Groves and Hassan N’Dam, but I just believe I can exploit him. I’m a different kettle of fish to what he’s faced before.”
Smith vs. Ryder tops a huge night of action in Liverpool.
Craig Glover (10-2, 8 KOs) takes on Chris Billam-Smith (9-1, 8 KOs) for the vacant Commonwealth Cruiserweight title, Anthony Fowler (10-1, 8 KOs) meets Harry Scarff (8-0, 1 KO) for the WBA International Super-Welterweight title, James Tennyson (25-3, 21 KOs) and Craig Evans (20-2-2, 3 KOs) square-off in a final eliminator for the British Lightweight title, Tom Farrell (17-2, 5 KOs) clashes with Sean Dodd (16-5-1, 3 KOs) in a must-win encounter for both men, Liverpool Light-Heavyweight talent Thomas Whittaker-Hart (3-0, 1 KO) aims to end his first year as a pro in style, former World title challenger Stephen Smith (27-4, 15 KOs) returns, Liverpool Super-Lightweight Marcus Molloy (1-0) and Skelmersdale Welterweight Tom Aitchson (1-0) both go for their second win in the pro ranks.
New British boxing star Alex Dilmaghani can’t wait for his first fight of 2020 and is confident he will win a World title after his riveting shoot-out with Francisco Fonseca last Saturday night at the York Hall.
The home of London boxing, that has featured many of the legends and epic fight nights of British boxing, served up another classic as modern-day warriors Dilmaghani and Fonseca went to war for the fans in the iconic hall and for the viewers on Channel 5 in the UK and around the world on YouTube.
They were scheduled to meet in September in Bolton but minutes before the ring walks were due to start, Fonseca was withdrawn by the BBBofC because of sickness. Promoter Mick Hennessy envisioned a barnstormer and potential Fight of the Year candidate back then and it proved to be right with both fighters delivering on the night.
Rescheduled for London and with the Vacant IBO World Super-Featherweight title on the line, the pair went straight into battle from the opening bell, setting a frenetic pace and fought at a blistering intensity around the middle of the ring from the first bell that remained throughout the whole of the action-packed contest.
The pair exchanged a high-volume of hurtful body-punches mixed with fast, hard, combinations and it was hard to separate them early on. Crayford’s classy Dilmaghani appeared to have the quicker hands, higher work-rate, better foot movement and defence by taking the punches on his arms and gloves, but Nicaraguan hardman Fonseca seemed to have the heavier hands and harder punches and was continually pushing forward.
In the ninth round a clash of heads resulted in Dilmaghani getting a bad cut above his left eye that his corner – with cuts man Kerry Kayes – did a superb job to stop it from getting worse and see their man get through to the final bell.
When the scores were read out at the end of the contest, Pawel Kardyni and Roberto Ramirez Jr both had a draw at 114-114, while British judge Howard Foster had it 115-114 to Fonseca.
Whilst Dilmaghani was disappointed not to have been given the nod by the judges’ and not have the IBO title in his possession, he was pleased with his performance and the exciting nature of the fight and believes it will only increase his value.
“I thought I won the fight,” Said Dilmaghani. “It was a very close fight, definitely before I got the cut in the ninth round I felt that I had won everything, overall I had it 8-4 or 7-5 in my favour,”
“It was a great fight and Fonseca was really up for it and gave it everything he had, so I take off my hat to him. It was a war and I felt that I proved that I’ve got the qualities of a great fighter, I’ve got a World class chin and showed I’ve got plenty of heart where people may have doubted it, I think everyone knows that now,”
“I thought that I could’ve boxed more and that is my only regret, but as it turned out I had to ‘war’ it out with him. The fans in the York Hall and viewers on Channel 5 and YouTube certainly got treated to a great fight,”
“I didn’t think Fonseca would last at that pace set from the first bell and I wanted to stop him by grinding him down, that was the game plane, but I couldn’t see out of my left eye from the ninth because of the cut,”
“I’ve got to let my cut heal and have a rest over Christmas, but I’ll be ready to go early next year for whatever my promoter Mick Hennessy has lined up. There’s an option to go down to featherweight, which I can make easily, and campaign there and I’m planned to fight four times next year. One of those will be for a World title and I’m confident that I will become World Champion. My name has certainly increased in awareness now and I’m all set for a big year ahead. I can’t wait.”
Hennessy was thrilled with the pulsating, all-action, fight and felt that his man had done enough to win, whilst surprised with the draw, he believes that the excitement of the fight has increased the Dilmaghani brand and put him in a great position to start 2020.
Hennessy said, “That fight to me is definitely the Fight of the Year, it was one of boxing’s night of nights and an absolutely awe-inspiring contest. Whilst it was called a draw by the judges’, the winner that night was the sport of boxing and Channel 5 for hosting such an incredible fight and the fans and the viewers were treated to a real barnstormer,”
“People think I was crazy about the things I was saying before hand about Alex, but I knew what he could do and he just needed a big fight to show what I was saying and the Fonseca fight was the one to bring it out of him. Now you can see why he’s avoided like the plague by his rivals out there,”
“Looking at the fight with a balanced view, I scored it 7-5 to Alex and the cut from the head clash in the ninth affected him as it impaired his vision. I believe that Alex had the better defence and was taking the majority of punches on his arms, gloves and elbows. That’s not taking away from Fonseca who proved himself to be a real warrior. Fonseca had plenty of time to prepare for Alex, probably around four months in total, including the first postponed fight. For the fights against Gervonta Davis and Tevin Farmer, Fonseca only two weeks’ and five weeks’ notice respectively and we knew he’d come in at his absolute best for Alex. Fonseca was huge at the weight and he’s a dangerous world class fighter when given the right notice,”
“We’ll have to see what opportunities present themselves to Alex before we make a decision going into the new year. The rematch with Fonseca is there, but we were going to move down to featherweight before the Fonseca opportunity arose as he makes super-feather too easy. The plan is for him to have four fights next year and make himself a major household name on Channel 5. I think now with all the fantastic publicity around this fight in the build up and the fight turning out how it did, it’s certainly put Alex up there and he will be a force to be reckoned with.”