Alan Dawson – London
Fast-rising British super bantamweight Abdul Barry Awad, commonly known by his fistic moniker Kid Galahad, deconstructed a game and resilient Josh Wale at the Hillsborough Leisure Centre in Sheffield on Saturday, May 12. His hand-speed, general boxing ability, precision and intuitive movement were all too much for Wale to cope with and the B-side fighter’s eyes were a swollen mess as early as the middle rounds, prompting a later stoppage.
Official verdict: Galahad via ninth round TKO.
Kid Galahad’s technique, precision and gun-slinging punching ability – a typical trait of the Ingle Gym in the Wincobank area of Sheffield – was evident from round one as the undefeated prospect dominated Josh Wale from the off. The 22-year-old boxed circles around the durable Wale, who took numerous shots clean to the right side of the jaw, the nose, the belt-line and the solar plexus.
When Wale abandoned the jab, he allowed Galahad to further enhance his own accuracy as there was no lead punch to perturb him from action. With his fists thrown from waist level, Galahad’s punching style was largely unorthodox and, as the fight progressed, the contest seemed to be more of an exhibition rather than a competitive match-up. Wale’s eyes, for instance, in the second and third rounds, were closing up due to severe swelling.
Whilst Galahad’s general hand speed raises commendation, his defensive acumen is also worthy of note. He has little guard to speak of but because his upper-body movement is so intuitive, he is able to veer away from danger whilst taking minimal damage. Wale adopted a peek-a-boo stance and was largely a come-forward type of fighter and so Galahad picked Wale apart by boxing and moving, slipping and sliding and represented a considerably frustrating opponent to square off against.
The swellings around Wale’s eyes became so severe that, by round five, one had burst and had begun to to leak claret. In round six, Galahad’s smoothness had paled somewhat, perhaps due to a natural slowing of speed but perhaps too due to Wale’s will but, despite mild issues, it was the Kid who still controlled the tempo and the style of the fight. If Wale was to turn the tide, then the primary thing to negate would have been Galahad’s left hook as a lack of a high right mitt meant Kid was able to check Josh’s jaw on numerous occasions.
Wale attempted to close the gap in round seven but, when he took the necessary steps forward into the pocket, Galahad would shove him back to mid-range where he was able to double and treble up on the jab. A second way Galahad thwarted Wale’s desire for an inside fight was to land a six to nine inch uppercut, repeatedly, onto the underside of Wale’s chin.
“The little kid is very tough and he’s one of the best [prospects] in Britain,” Channel 5‘s heavyweight star Tyson Fury announced mid-fight, before adding that “he now needs to get him [Wale] out of there.”
Indeed, for all of Galahad’s technical prowess, to really impress and help accelerate Sunday headlines, knockouts are sometimes a necessity, however, Kid – in his 11 fights prior to Wale – had only stopped four opponents. Known more for his defence, hand-speed and ring IQ, punch power was an attribute he had yet to fully level up on.
Whilst no canvassing had occurred, the referee’s inclination to stop the fight began in round nine when he temporarily halted combat in order to instruct the ringside physician to examine Wale’s cuts, which had become numerous, gory and bloody, yet the doctor declared that the lacerations did not compromise his vision or health.
A sharp-shooter, Galahad was able to tee off on Wale with two-punch combinations with ease before motioning away from danger himself. Whilst Wale would have always wanted to continue, he was, for the most part, taking un-necessary punishment when there was only going to be one winner. Between rounds nine and ten, the decision was made on Wale’s behalf to withdraw him from the contest as the durable Josh – who had only once been retired in three past losses – suffered a fourth defeat as Galahad was, largely, punch perfect.
“He’s a lot tougher than I thought he was, he took hard shots but I knew I could take him out,” said Galahad to Al Bernstein post-fight. “I wanted to see if he had strength in his punches. I picked [Wale] off, found my range, my timing, boom! I was too quick, too strong and he under-estimated my strength and also my inside fighting. I knew it was just a matter of time [before he was stopped]. Before [past opponent] Jason Booth I was only operating at 40 percent but I showed then [and now] why I’m going to be great.”
Campaigning in a quality-heavy division in both Britain and abroad, Galahad expressed his readiness and eagerness to box any of Scott Quigg, Rendall Munroe, Carlo Frampton or even Kiko Martinez: “I think I’m top [in Britain] if any of them want me, I want them.”
Chief promoter Mick Hennessy commented: “It was a masterclass. If you look at any of his opponents’ faces, this kid has power, believe it.”
With victory, Galahad rose to 12-0-0, 5ko while Wale’s wobble saw him fall to 14-4-1, 7ko.