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Boxing Results: Dilmaghani’s European bid shattered by champion Samir Ziani

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By Rob Maclean: British Super-Featherweight prospect Alex Dilmaghani (19-2-1, 8 KO’s) was knocked out by French EBU European champion Samir Ziani (32,3,1, 7 KO’s) in the twelfth round of a contest screened on Channel 5 in the UK, under Mick Hennessy’s promotional banner.

Dilmaghani and Ziani went to war for ten rounds, before Ziani eventually began to hurt Dilmaghani in the eleventh. Due to the back and forth nature of the contest, Dilmaghani was up on two scorecards going into the twelfth, and due to some completely incompetent officiating, the fight very nearly went to the scorecards.

The fight was extremely competitive, although it shouldn’t have been, but for Alex Dilmaghani’s willingness to stand and trade in the pocket. Dilmaghani has been open about his sparring done in Ignacio Beristáin’s Romanzo gym, reportedly sparring with Mexican legends Juan Manuel Marquez and Jhonny Gonzalez.

This may have encouraged Dilmaghani to stand and trade, but this was his undoing in this contest. Samir Ziani is an extremely fit and game young fighter, but he is also very limited and one dimensional, with his only tactic to walk forward and let his hands go.

One would think the blueprint for beating an opponent such as this is obvious, let Ziani walk into punches and then turn off, but instead, Dilmaghani tried to go toe to toe in a battle of who was fitter and stronger.

Ultimately this proved to be Ziani, and you have to give him credit for that, but this shouldn’t be a contest of who is stronger more who the better boxer is?

From the opening bell, both fighter’s sat in the pocket and let their hands go. It looked like Dilmaghani had already figured the Frenchman out by round two and began to take away his best weapon, the straight left, by rolling inside or using his shoulder to deflect it.

There were times where Dilmaghani looked a class above; he’d make Ziani look wild and reckless, then make him pay, picking out some great uppercuts.

Then he’d forget about this and stand touching gloves, occasionally throwing body punches that simply armed punches. Ziani, on the other hand, would throw multiple headshots, occasionally landing, other times looking amateurish.

Ziani had a second wind in the mid-rounds; this is a testament to the man’s fitness and will to win.

The fight would follow a pattern, Dilmaghani boxing really well when slipping punches and picking good quality shots, but then standing and trading with Ziani landing the harder, more telling shots.

By the tenth, Ziani’s pressure began to tell. Dilmaghani was tiring and losing the crispness of his shots, and by round eleven, Dilmaghani was hurt and exhausted sitting on his stool.

Almost amusingly, it was at that stage his corner asked him to box, despite shouting “push forward” throughout the entire contest. The request was irrelevant; Dilmaghani had nothing left and was defenseless to the onslaught from Ziani.

The final round was one I will not forget for a while. The last time I witnessed Giuseppe Quartarone officiate a contest was Anthony Joshua v Joseph Parker, his performance was lackluster, to say the least, and his lack of boxing knowledge was evident.

Dilmaghani was holding Ziani, falling and stumbling around the ring, until Ziani finally found a quality left hand that sent Dilmaghani flying into the ropes. Amazingly this was not scored as a knockdown.

Next, Quartarone decides to warn Dilmaghani, instead of taking a point; at this stage, he was grabbing Ziani with every last ounce of strength he had. Eventually, Ziani caught up to Dilmaghani and sent him to the canvas with a flurry.

Dilmaghani dragged himself up but failed to answer Quartarone’s call to come forward; this didn’t phase the official; he simply allowed Ziani to come onto the defenseless fighter.

At this stage, the beating was serious, and Ziani was teeing off with Dilmaghani going down for a second time. He got to his feet, but eventually, Quartarone waved the contest off.

Ziani can now move onto bigger and better as European champion, he has been speaking about world title fights, but that would be a stretch. I really hope Dilmaghani goes back to the drawing board and evaluates his fighting style because he cannot afford to waste his boxing talent fighting in the pocket.

As for official Giuseppe Quartarone, my personal opinion is that he should never officiate another championship fight. But we shall see how forgiving the commission is.


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