The crowd and terrestrial TV viewers are treated to a real barnstormer in Alex Dilmaghani vs Francisco Fonseca
Take a bow, Alex Dilmaghani and Francisco Fonseca. The headliners on Hennessy Sports’ Channel 5 show from the iconic York Hall in London put on an absolute barnstormer. Even though it was the lightly regarded vacant IBO super-featherweight title on the line, this was a route into world-class for Crayford’s well-travelled Dilmaghani against a teak-tough Nicaraguan who, while only 25, had already fought for world belts against Gervonta Davis and Tevin Farmer. And both men fought as if their careers depended on it, producing a Fight of the Year candidate.
A round-by-round recap would not do this justice. Suffice to say the pace was remarkable, they threw a ridiculous amount of leather and the first clinch I can recall came towards the end of round eight. For the most part, they met in ring centre, occasionally taking turns to unload but more often exchanging combinations. Dilmaghani had the faster hands, better footwork and superior defence, but Fonseca appeared physically stronger and was so insistent. The short hooks and body work was a joy to behold.
Both were cut around the left eye, Dilmaghani far more severely and in the ninth, two rounds before his rival. It appeared Dilmaghani’s fight to lose at halfway but Fonseca poured it on into the later rounds to have the decision in the balance. They showed tremendous heart. The Englishman was frequently urged by his corner to stay out of the pocket, but seemed to prefer it up close. It was a ballsy strategy.
The final scores were 115-114 Fonseca against 114-114 twice, making it a majority draw and leaving the title vacant. It seemed apt, as there were no losers here. We can but pray for a rematch.