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Rising star Alex Winwood set for world no.5 Reyneris Gutierrez June 16

Australia’s Alex Winwood may be 2-0 but he has a world title shot in his sights.

“I’ve got the blinders on, and I’ve got tunnel vision going forward,” he said.

A 2-0 boxer headlining a major card may raise eyebrows, but it is not unheard of for talented prospects to jump into main event status shortly after turning pro. Now, if the opponent for the 2-0 fighter happens to be the No.5 in their division, expect a lot more eyebrows to be raised upon hearing that news.

However, when it comes to Alex “The A Rock” Winwood, who finds himself in the situation described above, defying expectations is starting to become the norm in regards to his boxing career.

On Friday, 16 June, at Thunderdome 42, the former Olympian will headline his second pay-per-view event when he takes on WBC World No.5 Reyneris Gutierrez for the WBC International Strawweight title.

The 25-year-old, who turned professional last November, is targeting a meteoric rise up the world rankings. In just his second pro fight, Winwood demolished former IBO World Champion Tibo Monabesa via a fourth-round TKO victory.

The win over Monabesa created opportunities for even more high-profile opponents for Winwood, which he has seized without hesitation. A fight against the world No.5 may seem daunting to some, but for Winwood, this is precisely how he saw his career progressing.

Instead of building up an inflated record against hand-picked opposition brought in to make him look good, Winwood wanted to continue where he left off from the amateurs, fighting at the sport’s highest level.

“Transitioning out of my amateur career like I had that thought in my head that I didn’t want to just go in and bash up some poor bastard from overseas or whatever that shouldn’t really be in there, ” he explains.

“That’s the kind of mentality that [I had] going forward. I was like, look. I’m fighting the best in the world as an amateur at the moment; I don’t see the need to go backwards,” he added.

“Hopefully, in a few years [ when people look at] my record, their jaws drop, and they go ‘far out, he did jump straight in there, and he beat all these blokes that had more experienced records than himself’.”

Winwood may be blazing his own trail, but at Dragon Fire, he is surrounded by a team that knows what it takes to reach the top of the world stage. He recently spent six weeks in the United States with the Moloney twins, Jason and Andrew, as they prepared for their world title bouts against Vincent Astrolabio and Junto Nkatani, respectively.

“It’s been an absolute honour and pleasure to be around the twins for the past year in the gym and for me to go away with them and train alongside them as they got ready for their title bouts,” Winwood says.

“It was kind of like an inside foresight that not many boxers get to see in terms of what could be progressing in my career.”

One of the benefits of his time in the U.S. was getting to train and spar with various fighters in the Top Rank gym. Observing some of the world’s most famous fighters grinding it out brought home the reality for Winwood: once the tv cameras and spotlights have turned off, what really matters is how hard a boxer is willing to work to achieve their dream.

“There was just like all these big-time boxers in the one gym, and then it kind of clicked to me that we’re all just boxers in a boxing gym, ” he says.

“We all come from like a backyard shed somewhere or a street corner fighting somewhere, and we all end up in this one place. It was a privilege for me to be there and to realize that.”

Winwood is fully aware of the work required to achieve his goal of becoming a world champion. He and his team want to make history by breaking Jeff Fenech’s record and have Winwood become the fastest Australian to earn a world championship.

It is a lofty goal that brokers no distractions, not that Winwood would want it any other way.

” I’ve chucked a job in, I’ve moved state, packed it all up for boxing to work out, and so far, so good. So, I’ve got the blinders on, and I’ve got tunnel vision going forward, and over the next 5 to 10 years, this is what one’s life is going to revolve around. I just want to get as much out of it as I can and enjoy the experience.”

You can follow all the action from Thunderdome 42 by purchasing the PPV at FITE.

Credit: Michael Clfton

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