Friday, June 16, 2023

Winwood Remains On Fast Track Towards Challenging For A World Title

Boxing is truly a unique sport in many aspects. One among them is the fact that every fighter's journey is different and the path that a fighter hopes to follow towards the goal of becoming a world champion will vary depending on the fighter. While most are likely of the point of view that a fighter should spend at least the first couple of years of their professional careers not only accumulating time in active competition in the ring in terms of building a record, but more importantly to use the time to gain valuable experience and develop their skillset. 

Credit: Tony Tolj/Dragon Fire Boxing 

For a select few however, the path to a world championship can come quickly and there are those who are able to reach a world championship fight before reaching their tenth fight as a professional. Some notable names among that select group include Vasyl Lomachenko as the most recent example of a fighter who won a world title before reaching his tenth pro fight and has subsequently gone on to win multiple world championships in several divisions, and the late Leon Spinks, who in just his eighth fight as a professional, shockingly dethroned the legendary Muhammad Ali in 1978 to win the Heavyweight championship of the world, just to name a few. 

The fighters who are able to accomplish what is truly a rarity remains a limited select group and most are probably of the opinion that most fighters that accomplish that goal of becoming a world champion with a limited number of professional fights are either fighters that are simply in the right place at the right time, or in the case of Lomachenko, prove to be a true generational talent that rarely comes along. There is however, a fighter who has quickly emerged that could well be on his way to joining that select list. Enter Alex Winwood.

Winwood, a native of Bunbury Australia, has skyrocketed on the fast track towards potentially adding his name to that list. Competing in Boxing's lowest divisions, Winwood turned pro in November of last year and in just two fighters won the WBC International championship in the 108lb. Light-Flyweight division. Although some may not understand the purpose of titles of a regional nature, the important thing for fighters is more often than not, holding a title like an international title for example, often carries with it a top fifteen ranking in a sanctioning organization's ratings. For his third professional fight, Winwood moved down in weight to the 105lb. Minimumweight division, which is also referred to as the Strawweight division.

Winwood's opponent would be the undefeated WBC international champion Reyneris Gutierrez, who was ranked number five in the world by the WBC in the Strawweight division. While that statistic should be viewed as the significant step up that it was for Winwood, who entered the fight held at Metro City Nightclub in Perth, Australia on June 16th as the main event of Dragon Fire Boxing's Thunderdome 42 card, rated number fifteen by the WBC, it is important to note that his previous international title win at Light-Flyweight came against Tibo Monabesa, a fighter that was competing in his twenty-sixth professional fight compared to Winwood's second. Given that Winwood entered this fight having knocked out both of his previous opponents, the possibility of being intimidated by a fighter in Gutierrez, who entered the fight unbeaten in nine professional fights, was likely not an issue seeing as he had just scored a knockout win over a more experienced Monabesa in his last fight.

This would nevertheless prove to be a test for Winwood. From the opening bell of the scheduled ten round bout the two fighters engaged in combat at a high pace, something that is common for bouts fought in Boxing's lowest divisions. The ebb and flow generally consisted of Gutierrez throwing hooks and trying to catch Winwood as he came forward.

While several of the rounds in this fight appeared close due to both the pace in which it was fought as well as both fighters being able to have their share of moments in many of the same rounds, there was one thing that stood out that as the fight progressed proved to be the difference. Winwood's lateral movement including his head movement throughout was stellar in being able to make Gutierrez miss, land short, compact combinations, and use his legs to evade and over time dictate how the fight was being fought. In just his third fight as a professional, Winwood was also able to show the ability to take a punch when he needed to. Something that can remain a question for fighters who have had more experience in the professional ranks than he has had up to this point. 

It was this strategy that Winwood was able to implement as well as scoring a knockdown in the fourth round by landing a perfectly timed counter left hook to the head that dropped Gutierrez, that ultimately resulted in his being able to score a convincing decision victory to move his record to 3-0, with 2 Knockouts. In addition to responding well to when he was pushed by Gutierrez, this victory also accomplished something that is also rare for a fighter with only three pro fights. He showed the stamina and ability to go ten rounds in a competitive fight, which is something that will likely benefit him as he moves forward from here.

Credit: Tony Tolj/ Dragon Fire Boxing 

Whether or not Alex Winwood does indeed add his name to the select group of fighters to have won a world championship within the first ten bouts of their professional career. After defeating a top five contender and turning in a solid performance in the process, it may be a question of what opportunities are available in either the 105lb. Minimumweight or 108lb. Light-Flyweight divisions that might decide how soon the opportunity to fight for a world championship might come. Off of this performance, the Boxing world should be keeping a keen eye on whatever the next step for Alex Winwood might be.

"And That's The Boxing Truth."

Photos Courtesy of: Tony Tolj/Dragon Fire Boxing Used with permission.

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