Jarred Cross – July 19, 2023
Noongar boxer Alex Winwood has climbed to no.2 in the World Boxing Council’s strawweight ratings, earmarking a push to get his hands on a world title in the division.
WBC’s ratings released this week places Winwood behind only Mexican fighter Luis Castillo on the list of challengers to interim champion Yudai Shigeoka and world champion Panya Pradabsri.
“This is very special and brings me so much closer to my dream of being a world champion,” Winwood wrote on Instagram on Tuesday.
This time last year the 26-year-old was yet to enter the ring as a professional.
Just three fights in, Winwood’s manager Tony Tolj said it’s an “unheard of” trajectory into the elite.
The International Boxing Federation has Winwood at no.8 and World Boxing Organization at just outside the top ten at no.11 in their latest ratings.
“To be honest, his rise is unheard of. There’s no other boxer really on this planet, apart from Lomachenko (Ukrainian multi-time, multi-weight class world champion and two-time unified lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomanchenko), that’s had three fights and is number two in the world. It’s just unbelievable,” Tolj told National Indigenous Times on Tuesday.
“But it’s a testament to him. He only wants to fight the best – and in boxing you can’t always fight the best but we’ve managed to get the highest rated fighters in front of him”
His manager said the stratospheric rise comes in large-part to taking on, and moving past, much more experienced opponents.
After bursting onto the scene, Tolj said the WBC quickly wound back any of their concerns about giving an unknown fighter chances at big fights when they realised, as he put it, “this guy is the real deal”.
In his pro career so far, Winwood has wrapped the Western Australian light flyweight, WBC International Light Fly and WBC International minimum weight belts around his waist.
The latest came after shedding off a couple of kilos from his already slight frame – a decision Tolj sees as a thoughtful approach towards he and trainer Angelo Hyder’s aim to produce a world champion within six fights in Winwood.
Should he get there, Winwood would be the fastest Australian man to do so.
In a sport of fine margins, light fly see’s a lot of bigger builds cutting down to the class with an inch of two extra of height and reach.
That variance might have contributed to Winwood’s less dominant amateur record.
Tolj said his man is now “licking his lips” at minimum weight.
Winwood has said he has no intentions of taking on “taxi drivers” in the ring, with his management’s eyes also on climbing up the ladder again for his next bout.
“We’re looking at everyone above us and now that’s Castillo. We’ve instructed Alex just yesterday to ‘mate, start looking at footage of him,'” Tolj said.
“Ideally we plan to stick with the WBC as they’ve looked after us, but we’ve got an eye on every single champion out there with the IBF, WBA and the WBO.”
A mild-mannered man, Winwood defied the brash convention’s often associated with someone in his job and at his level.
Tolj said he identified something in him from early on. Not just in professionalism and intent, but as something well worth putting time into and for others to keep an eye on.
“The sky is the limit with him (Winwood),” Tolj said.
“He’s got a very good personality, and he’s actually enjoyable to spend time with. And the way that he’s always looking out for other people, not just himself is a breath of fresh air into boxing.”