By Ezio Prapotnich
When you have charisma, they say, all you have to do is to show up.
The same is true of natural talent in the case of 20 years old
Lightweight southpaw Alex Dilmaghani (5-0, 1 ko), who was noticed and
signed by Ricky Hatton only in his second professional outing, after a
very short amateur career. Former European champion and world title
challenger Rendall Munroe was equally impressed, after working a
session with him, and declared Alex is better than he was at the same
age. The next man to recognize his talent is Spencer Fearon, head of
the quick growing Hard Knocks Boxing Promotions, who signed a month
ago to become his manager while Hatton remains the promoter.
Dilmaghani’s next fight will showcase in the Hard Knocks card “Shamrock Showdown” on the 18th of March at London famous York Hall. We caught up
with Fearon at The Real Fight Club gym in Liverpool Street to discuss
what promises to be a great night for the domestic boxing scene.
BOXINGINSIDER: First of all, how did you get involved with Alex and
how do you feel about him?
SPENCER FEARON: He contacted me after being out of fights for almost a
year. He knew me before and trusts me as a person that lives boxing
100%, like himself. He studies the game, watches and memorizes a lot
of old fights, and, on the practical level, has a massive repertoire
of punches for such a young man. Very talented. He has all it takes to
become a world champion, not last the image: he looks like Errol
BI: What plans do you have for him?
SF:We are trying to get funding for him from my investors at Welbeck.
As far as his fight in March goes, we have not named an opponent yet
but we are looking for someone who can really test him.
BI: It looks like you intend to test all of your fighters on that
night. Light Welterweight Darren Hamilton (7-1, 1 ko) will have a big
step-up in opposition fighting the tough and experienced Peter
McDonagh (16-19, 2 ko) for the BBB of C Southern Area title of the
division, while Welterweight Nathan Graham (11-1, 5 ko) is going up
against former British, European, and IBO champion Colin Lynes (33-8,
12 ko), whom, according to his trainer Jimmy Tibbs, seems to be in the
best shape of his career and ready to fight at world level. Do you
feel confident about the result?
SF: As shocking as people might find this, I am not sure about who is
going to win myself and I honestly don’t care. What I am interested in
is having two fighters going into a ring with a genuine desire to win
and giving the crowd their money worth. There is nothing I dislike
more than shows where the house fighter is matched against someone
paid to lose, whose only ambition is to hear the final bell. Because
of my background as a fighter, I look at things with a boxing
mentality, rather than a business one. Undefeated records are
overrated and do not really matter if people do not enjoy what they
see. If a fighter gives a good account of himself, even in defeat, and
the crowd enjoys it, they will remember and they will come back.THAT
is good for business. And for boxing.
BI: Explain the name of the card, “Shamrock Showdown.”
SF: The 18th of March is St.Patrick’s Day and the main event will
feature Irish fighter and former Irish Champion Peter McDonagh, whom
I’ve known for years. He has fought a lot big names, like Alex Arthur,
Frankie Gavin, Di Lauri, European to world level fighters, and made
them work for their money. He defeated Curtis Woodhouse in his last
fight. This guy is a throwback. He is fighting in the wrong era, as
far as I am concerned.
BI: Besides Hamilton, Dimalghani, and Graham, who else is going to
feature on the undercard?
SF: All the other fighters from my stable, namely Prizefighter
Super-Featherweights contender Choi Tseevenpurev, WBF Middleweight
champion Kreshnik Qato, and Light Welterweight Joe Catchpole. Keep an
eye on Qato, as we are targetting a big British name as a future
opponent, a former Olympic medal. I will leave it at that for now.
BI: Is there anything else you would like to add?
SF: I would like to thank all other small hall promoters on the scene
like Dave Coldwell and Steve Goodwin, who are giving fighters a chance
and keeping the domestic scene alive. Also, Nathan Graham’s uncle,
former fighter and fellow Muslim Oscar Angus, who went to the Karba on
pilgrimage and prayed for me. All his prayers are coming true.
While at The Real Fight Club to meet Fearon, we also had a chance to
talk to Darren Hamilton, the headliner of the card, who works and
trains at the same premises.
BI: Where and when did you start boxing?
DARREN HAMILTON: I started when I was 12 years old in Bristol, my
hometown. I have an amateur record of 26-4 and turned professional in
2006, when I was 27.
BI: You piled up five wins between then and December 2007, then there
is a gap of three years before your comeback started last year. Why
did you stop and what made you return to the ring?
DH: Besides having some family difficulties I will not go into, I was
unhappy with my manegement and training. At the time, I was serioulsy
considering to continue my career as a personal trainer and, on my way
to complete Level 3 of the course, I ended up in London at Rooney’s
gym, where I had sparred before. They offered me a job as trainer and
also a contract to continue fighting professionally. I wasn’t very
motivated at the beginning but, after sparring with the likes of Erik
O’Chieng and former British/Commonwealth champion Anthony Small, I
gained confidence in my skills and decided to give it another try.
BI: How did you get involved with Hard Boxing Promotions?
DH: I lost my day job at Rooney’s and my former trainer Ben Doughty,
who was working at The Real Fight Club, directed me to Spencer Fearon,
who signed me and put me on the undercard of Matthew Hatton’s
challenge for the European title against Gianluca Branco early last
BI: That was your first comeback fight and you lost by TKO. Was it
because of ring rust? Did you learn from it?
DH: Well, I learned not to fight outside of my weight category, as I
came in the ring at 10st4 against a Light Middleweight, but also not
to be complacent.
BI: At the age of 32, you are about to fight for your first
professional title. How do you feel about it?
DH: In the beginning, having a relatively small record, I felt it was
too soon. But, the number of rounds I have sparred against quality
fighters plus the support and the faith in my potential I get from my
promoter have made me really confident. Consider that initially I was
supposed to fight Alex Arthur, who was a world champion, but the BBB
of Control would not allow me as they saw it as a mismatch. I was
ready to go. That says a lot about my self belief.
BI: How do you rate McDonagh?
DH: Very underrated. He is an adaptable fighter, who can box as well
as slug it out, with a good jab and is experienced. Nevertheless, we
were supposed to meet for a face off and he refused.
BI: Assuming you win on the 18th, how far do you see yourself go realistically?
DH: I ask myself the same question, because of my age. But, I am a
“young” 32 years old in boxing terms. I have never been through ring
wars yet and, because of my job, I live a healthy lifestyle and am in
excellent shape. I give myself a good five years as a pro and my
objective is to win the British title.
Hard Knocks Promotions “Shamrock Showdown” is scheduled for March 18 at York Hall.
For tickets information, call 07092390390 or 07908388475, £35
unreserved or £60 ringside.