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Fraser Wilkinson's month of training at the famous Julian Magdaleno gym in Guadalajara, Mexico - once home to the legendary Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez - has fired him up to shake off his first defeat and return to the professional ring at Aberdeen's Ardoe House Hotel this weekend

By Craig Christie

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Training in the playground of boxing legends has prepared Moray fighter Fraser Wilkinson for his next professional fight.

Fraser Wilkinson won the Scottish title last year but suffered defeat in the rematch. Picture: Beth Taylor.
Fraser Wilkinson won the Scottish title last year but suffered defeat in the rematch. Picture: Beth Taylor.

Hopeman boy Wilkinson (22) will return to the ring tomorrow in Aberdeen’s Ardoe House Hotel to take on a Lithuanian opponent in an international bout.

Anarchy at the Ardoe.
Anarchy at the Ardoe.

The former Elgin AAC boxer suffered his first defeat in May at Dundee’s Caird Hall in a rematch of his Scottish super welterweight title win over Corey McCulloch in Elgin.

‘Wilko’ has relocated to Aberdeen under the wing of Northern Sporting Club owner and coach David McAllister, whose brother Lee was a world champion in the sport.

His new club recently took him to Mexico for a month-long training camp at the famous Julian Magdaleno gym in Guadalajara, which has produced five world champion fighters.

One is Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, considered by many to be the greatest boxer in the world right now.

"The owner is Chepo Reynoso who is the former trainer to Canelo Alvarez and his son now trains him," he said.

"Out of that wee gym on the most random street in Guadalajara, there’s been five world champions and countless international champs.
Fraser Wilkinson with famous boxing coach Chepo Reynoso in Mexico.
Fraser Wilkinson with famous boxing coach Chepo Reynoso in Mexico.

"There was only one lad in that whole gym who has got a loss in his record and he is something like 35 and 1. It shows the standard they produce over there.

"They liked me a lot because I was the only southpaw in the gym and everyone was wanting to get rounds with me for a bit of experience. It’s a valuable bit of kit to have in your arsenal.

I was sparring every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning at 9 o’clock for the whole four weeks and it was pretty rigorous. I was having to take days off in between because it was nine rounds every morning.

Wilkinson did 82 rounds of sparring with the likes of WBA number one ranked super lightweight Gabriel Gollaz, WBO youth world champion, Russian super welterweight Nikita Miroshnichenko, and undefeated local prospect Emiliano Rojo.

"It was one of the best experiences for me and the best turnaround for my career.

"For the first ten days I was getting battered to be honest. Jet lag had set in and it was tough to get used to and the altitude was really high over there as well.

"It was something different to get used to but once I got things going and I was taking on all the advice it became a lot easier.

"Day by day I saw myself improving, just having to stay switched on. I learned a lot more about myself, over those four weeks it put it all into perspective about why I was actually boxing in the first place.

"It made me see more what I actually want to do with myself, and I feel now coming away from that it was beneficial to myself."

Wilkinson feels his Mexican experience has made him fitter and mentally stronger than he has ever been before in his career.

He won his first six professional fights before suffering his first TKO against Arbroath rival McCulloch - there's still talk about the possibility of a third fight between the pair.

Wilkinson says he was in a very different place when he was defeated in May, and plans to put things right.

"It was a fight I wanted but in hindsight, it wasn’t really going to benefit me, win or lose," he said. "I take my defeats on the chin, I can’t blame anyone for my losses and it took me back to the drawing board. I will get going again.

"It wasn’t really a sense of where I went wrong, I just shouldn’t have been fighting. My granny passed away during that camp and other things were happening in the background, family-wise.

"I was told to maybe take a step back but I was a bit naive, being so young and immature in the circumstances at the time. I just thought the world would kind of repay me for being a bit thick-skinned but it did get hard in there, I got challenged and it proved a bit too much for me.

"It was a learning curve but I would rather it happened now when I was only 6-0 to further down the line when I’m maybe 30 and making more money and the loss actually means something more. Now that is off my chest."

Wilkinson parted company with his long-time mentor, Elgin ABC head coach Paul 'Ratch' Gordon and made the switch to Aberdeen.

"Ratch had pulled away from the professional side to focus more on the amateurs," he revealed.

"I had the option to come out to Aberdeen and work with David (McAllister) and I was fortunate enough that my dad lives in Dyce so I just packed up my stuff and left.

"I am in the gym near enough every day with David and he has been straight down the middle with everything. The fact is that his family has got such a steep history in professional boxing.

"Taking information from him, it’s almost like the Bible. I believe truly in what he is saying to me and it has taken my confidence on a lot.

"He is really strict with me in the gym and that’s what I’ve needed, someone straight down the middle telling me what to do and where I’m going wrong, not just letting me do my own thing.

"This is the part of my career where I don’t give up.

"I’ve got lots to prove and lots to give and I’m gonna put my head down and let my performances do the talking."

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