Kash Ali says he will be far too good for Josh Sandland when they meet in an all-Yorkshire heavyweight clash on February 21 at the Barnsley Metrodome, as chief support to local fighter Josh Wale’s bout against Tanzania’s Iddi Kayumba.
Halifax’s Sandland has lost just twice in eight fights since turning pro in 2016, and is ranked above his Rotherham rival. The 27-year-old, who had a limited amateur background, has consistently been in the away corner since punching for pay though, and won’t be fazed by facing Ali on his home show.
Kash has lost just one fight in 17, a disqualification against David Price last March. A ban from the sport followed that loss, but since then he has teamed up with new trainer Richard Towers, and picked up a TKO win in November.Ali knows that taking Sandland’s scalp will help move him up the rankings and into belt contention.
The 28-year-old is looking to move his career on in 2020 after his problems last year, and says although he has the upmost respect for Sandland, he will prove he is a level above in their upcoming battle.
“I’ve been training since my last fight, and it’s going well, my weight’s down, and I’m in shape. It was good to get that last fight out of the way after the ban. That kid had never been stopped before, so it was a good result to stop him. I’ve got a good team around me now and am really looking forward to the future.
“Josh is actually ranked higher than me, so I’m really looking forward to this fight. If you look at his record he’s been in with some decent people. He’s a come forward fighter but I’m the better boxer, and I’ll show that on the night.
“With Josh, he is what you see, and there’s no secret to what he does. He comes forward trying to apply lots of pressure, but I know he’s not beating me. No disrespect, but he’ll understand why when we get in there that I’m a different level. I’ll take him out of there. I’m not going to say I’ll do this or that, but he’ll understand once I land.
“This is the perfect fight for me at the moment. It will help me get up the rankings and move onto the bigger fights. I want to pick some titles up this year, I want a nice belt and to show people why I belong at the top.”
British star Alex Dilmaghani will challenge the reigning European Super-Featherweight Champion Samir Ziani for his title on Saturday 25th April at the National Sports Centre, Crystal Palace, exclusively live on free-to-air Channel 5 in the UK.
Presented by Mick Hennessy for Hennessy Sports in association with Ladbrokes, Channel 5, Infinitum. Tickets are priced at £40 Standard, £70 Ringside and £100 Inner Ringside are on sale NOW from https://myfighttickets.com/
All-action Dilmaghani (19-1-1, 8 KO’s) takes on the rugged Ziani (31-3-1, 6 KO’s) in the main attraction with an action packed undercard that includes Hennessy’s latest hot-signing, the London cruiserweight talent Isaac Chamberlain, who yesterday announced a long-term promotional deal. Further top up-and-coming talents, including unbeaten middleweight prospect Michael Hennessy Jr. will be added to the card.
Dilmaghani, 28, rose to pubic consciousness in his last fight in November at the York Hall when he battled to a thrilling draw against the Nicaraguan Two-Time World title challenger Francisco Fonseca for the IBO World title in one of the fight’s of year for 2019.
The stylish Crayford southpaw is now even more determined and confident that he can become a World Champion after extending hardman Fonseca who had previously taken World Champions Gervonta Davis and Tevin Farmer the distance in World title challenges.
Despite fighting with a bad cut above his left eye from the ninth round, Dilmaghani pressed the fight and although it was very close at the end, many ringside observers felt that Dilmaghani had done enough to be given the decision.
Ziani from Blagnac, France, a former French and WBC & WBA International Champion, will be making the second defence of his European title against Dilmaghani. Well travelled and experienced Ziani, 29, has previously fought in Spain, Denmark, Morocco, Ukraine and Italy in his 35-fight career stretching back to 2010.
Winning the vacant European title by forcing Spaniard Juli Gigner to retire in the sixth round in his Barcelona backyard last year demonstrates that Ziani holds no fear in coming to the UK for the first time to face ‘Dilma’ on his own home soil and put his title on the line.
In his last fight against in October, Ziani successfully made the first defence of his title with a unanimous points decision over the tricky Belgian challenger Faroukh Kourbanov.
With only 3 three points loses on his record, Ziani has never been stopped and one of those was against the big-hitting former IBF World Lightweight Champion Richard Commey in a very tight fight that some had Ziani winning.
Dilmaghani said, “It’s going to be a great fight between two world class operators. We’re both exciting to watch, we both throw a lot of punches and we’re both warriors, but I’m technically better in every aspect and I’ll be victorious. I proved a lot against Fonseca and ticked a lot of boxes like fighting twelve rounds at frantic pace, my solid chin and my warrior spirit at world class level. The European title is a beautiful belt to challenge for with plenty of history and I look at this fight as a World title eliminator. Ziani is well respected and I’m preparing very hard and meticulously as I want his name on my record with a W next to it.”
Ziani said, “I am excited to be coming to London and making the second defense of my EBU title in London against Dilmaghani. We have a very similar style of boxing which will prove to be very exciting for the fans. I watched his fight against Fonseca and I have seen plenty of weakness that I can exploit. I am very confident that I will leave London with my belt.”
Gary Hyde, Ziani’s manager, added, “This is a great chance for Samir to showcase his talent on Channel 5. Dilmaghani is a hungry and determined challenger to take Samir’s belt but he’s coming up against Ziani who has a hell of a lot of experience. Once Ziani makes another successful defense of his title he will close in on a world title by the end of 2020.”
Hennessy is thrilled to deliver a European title opportunity for Dilmaghani in his return and believes that his man can lift the title at the iconic National Sports Centre.
He said, “This is a super fight for Alex to come straight back into and Ziani will bring out the best in him. After his rip roaring battle with Fonseca, which to me was last year’s fight of the year, he’s going in to challenge Ziani who’s the best in Europe with the prestigious European title on the line and it’s live on free to air Channel 5. It’s the traditional, old school, route and a win will elevate him in the ratings towards a major World title opportunity. I’m pleased to be promoting at the historic Crystal Palace where many of the British greats such as Nigel Benn and Lennox Lewis have fought and where Alex will aim now to be crowned champion of Europe.”
New Hennessy Sports signing Isaac Chamberlain was at yesterday’s launch of the charity Gloves Up Knives Down new initiative ‘Preventative Intervention’ that aims to reduce knife crime on the streets by giving kids a free starter boxing kit and lessons.
Working closely with young people from troubled communities across London, GUKD looks to assist them with providing increased access to boxing gyms and lessons where they can benefit from the power of boxing training such as boosting mental and physical well-being, discipline, confidence, friendship and respect.
The new scheme was launched at London’s famous Repton amateur club and Chamberlain was alongside former World Champion and host Johnny Nelson, former World title challenger Kevin Mitchell and Ultimate Boxxer 6 Heavyweight winner Nick Webb. Also in attendance was Craig Richards who challenges for the British Light-Heavyweight title against Shakan Pitters on a Hennessy Sports show on March 28 at the Coventry Skydome.
Shaun Bailey, 2020 London Mayor candidate, presented the debut promotional film ‘The Gift’ with the soundtrack ‘Put the glove on’ by Son Of and gave an inspiring speech to launch the campaign.
Chamberlain’s life could have ended differently had he not found salvation in a boxing gym. At 11/12 years old he was involved in dealing drugs and tragically lost his cousin to knife crime. His mother did not want to see him going down the wrong path and took him to a boxing gym and he’s never looked backed.
The Brixton ace this week signed a long-term promotional deal with renowned promoter Mick Hennessy and after 16 months of ring inactivity, he will feature on two shows within four weeks. First on the Coventry Skydome show and then on Saturday 25th April at the National Sports Centre, Crystal Palace, both fights exclusively live in the UK on free-to-air Channel 5.
Chamberlain said, “When I was growing up I never had anything like GUKD around me and to see the work they are doing with the new initiative Preventative Intervention is absolutely amazing to see and I give it my full backing. Fortunately I had my mum who took me to the boxing gym as she saw how things were going and it was going to end well for me. Other kids weren’t so lucky, I’m so glad that I found boxing and it’s given me a new life and something to aim for, to become a World Champion. Boxing’s changed my life. I was reckless and wild, it gave me confidence and power and respect. I had low self esteem, but I really believe that boxing is like a language, it gives you a style and a way to express yourself through fighting and training. Kids who don’t know how to express themselves can through boxing. Kids need an outlet and sport is key, whether it’s through boxing, football or whatever and for me boxing gave me that confidence.”
For further information on Gloves Up Knives Down go to glovesupknivesdown.co.uk
BRAD FOSTER has added the Midlands Boxer of the Year award to his trophy cabinet en route to his highly anticipated rematch with Lucien Reid.
The Lichfield fighter had a stunning 2019 - taking the British super-bantamweight title from Josh Wale before adding the Commonwealth crown when he outpointed Ashley Lane.
Foster, 22, was held to a majority draw by Lucien Reid in September and puts his belts on the line against his London rival in a rematch at York Hall, Bethnal Green on Saturday February 22.
Foster (11-0-2, 4 KOs) who was presented with his award last week said: “I’ve got big shoes to fill when you look at the previous winners.
“It is so nice to get these awards and boxing titles. In 2018 I also won Midlands Young Boxer of the Year, but didn’t pick up the award until this year’s event so it was a decent night.
“I do keep myself to myself, but it is always nice to be rewarded and get noticed for what I achieved last year.”
Foster’s first fight against Reid (8-0-2, 4KOs) was one of the most controversial domestic clashes of last year. Two judges scored the fight a draw, while the other official made Reid the winner.
And when the pair return to the spiritual home of British boxing on Frank Warren’s prospect stacked bill, Foster insists he will end the rivalry for good with a win.
“I have to close the chapter, beat Lucien and keep my belts,” added Foster who has also recently named Midlands Boxer of the Year by the Birmingham Mail.
“On the night I thought our first fight was really close, but watching it back it was a fair result. I knew we had to do it again to settle it.
“I am very confident that I will be victorious in the rematch. I always knew he was a good fighter, but I don’t believe I did things right in the first fight. This time I have the opportunity to put it right.
“Whilst you’re in the ring you know the things you have to do better and pick up on things an opponent does. That is why, it will be different this time.
“We both know what the other is like and that helps make it such a tasty return fight, but I believe I will beat Lucien.”
Foster’s title winning performances against Wale, Lane and draw when he faced Reid all took place inside six months.
He says: “I broke a knuckle in the Reid fight so I enjoyed the rest and my Christmas although I was still running and ticking over.
“It has done me good because I was so busy last year and it takes a lot out of you. It isn’t just the fights, but the training because you push your body to the limit.
“Three quick 12-round fights and camps will always take it out of you. My injuries have healed up and I am ready to go.”