Winwood adopts minimum requirements for boxing history

March 16, 2023 09:37 AM AEDT | By AAPNEWS
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There isn't much of Alex Winwood, but there's a lot to like.

The Olympian wants to break Jeff Fenech's Australian record and win a world title in six fights or less.

And he'll enter foreign territory to do it, the light flyweight set to drop down to minimumweight - at 47.7kg, boxing's lightest division - for his next fight that should earn him IBF and WBC world rankings.

It's a weight class dominated by Filipino, Thai and Mexican fighters that's proved a rare venture for Australians, with no world champions since the division's inception in 1987.

The Tokyo 2021 fighter, listed at just 158cm, had Danny Green and his old trainer Angelo Hyder in his corner when he monstered Indonesia's former world champion Tibo Monabesa inside four rounds in Perth earlier this month.

That victory shot the West Australian, now based in Cudgen on the NSW north coast at Hyder's gym, to No.13 in the WBC's light flyweight rankings after just two fights.

But the 25-year-old, who says he'd probably be in jail if he didn't take up the sport, has eyes on Thai ace Panya Pradabsri's WBC minimumweight title.

"That's who we want to target," Winwood told AAP. 

"He's the best out of the minimum champs, but even then I could beat him now if they gave me a shot."

Fellow Tokyo Games talent Paulo Aokuso is also eyeing Fenech's mark, the light-heavyweight improving to 4-0 and securing the vacant IBO Inter-Continental light-heavyweight title before Tim Tszyu's win in Sydney on Sunday.

But Winwood reckons he'll beat him to the punch.

"I don't want to fight people way below me for a long time," he said. 

"I find that boring. I've fought Olympic gold medallists. What's the point of going backwards?"

Winwood grew up with current Richmond star Shai Bolton and wanted to play AFL.

Height wasn't on his side though.

He has Brian Sartori to thank for pestering him into the ring and uncle, former West Coast Eagles talent Troy Ugle, for keeping the new dream alive.

"I was a talented footy player but couldn't get drafted to a WAFL Club and even if I did, that would have been as far as I got," Winwood said.

"Brian did some boxing sessions at school but nobody took him up (on continuing them in his gym).

"I saw him during school holidays; I was skateboarding around he said, 'You going to come down?'.

"Dad was on board, so it kicked off."

Ugle, who played 47 games for the Eagles in the late 1980s and early 1990s, then did his bit.

"He was the big shot in our family ... everyone used to talk about him being the big sports star," Winwood said. 

"I chose my path and as I started to have a career in sports we grew a tight bond.

"Boxing became a pretty expensive sport, but my uncle always helped me out and still does to this day."

Last year the Mandurah product became the first Indigenous member elected to the Australian Olympic Committee athletes' commission.

He says he's proud of "walking his own path" and aware of how it could have otherwise gone.

"If I never started boxing I could be in jail, I don't know," he mused.

"I grew up in a rough neighbourhood; my friends were doing stupid stuff and boxing took me away from it.

"I'd hope I had enough sense to stay away from it, but glad I never had to realise that and that I found something that suited me."

Winwood says he passed up a chance to join Tszyu's No Limit Boxing team after he was "low-balled", instead determined to "start a wildfire" in the west with Dragon Fire boxing.

He shares a manager with Moloney twins Jason and Andrew, who are both likely to fight for world titles in the United States in May.

"Everyone's battling to get on the same cards and it's hard to compete with that in terms of publicity," Winwood said of the No Limit deal that means only their Australian-based fights are shown on Fox Sports.

"But it's not the only way and when the Moloneys (promoted by big-time US agency Top Rank) get their world title belts and hold big fights in Australia I don't have to jump through hoops to be on those cards."

Currently walking around at about 55kg, Winwood grimaces at the thought of making weight almost eight kilograms lighter.

But he was barely one kilogram above the miminumweight mark before his last fight and has since improved his cooking - a vital factor in the balance between losing weight but maintaining energy and strength.

"It will be an all-year lifestyle and mostly just portion control, but I don't struggle with that because my cooking doesn't taste that great anyway," he laughed. 

"My mum and missus said I should put a few herbs and spices in there. 

"Now I've learnt about garlic and onion powder, it's changed my world."


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