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.
Alan Dawson – London
Kid Galahad defeated Jason Booth by way of unanimous decision at the Magna Centre in Rotherham on Saturday, February 18. Galahad overcame a setback in round one to claim all the remaining ten scores as he out-boxed the more experienced Booth. In so doing, he was awarded the vacant WBC International super bantamweight title, a championship previously held by Manny Pacquiao and Prince Naseem Hamed.
Official verdict: Galahad wins by scores of 120-109, 118-111 and 118-110.
Galahad versus Booth was a crossroads fight for both contestants. For Booth, it was an opportunity to scalp a young and hungry prospect following successive stoppage losses to Kiko Martinez and Scott Quigg. For Galahad, it represented a significant step-up in terms of quality of opponent and, considering the Channel 5 audience, the chance to showcase his burgeoning skill-set on terrestrial television.
It was Galahad who triumphed in what turned out to be a near shut-out… but he was forced to rally following a knockdown in the opening round. Booth may have had the nickname ’2 Smooth’ but the rhythm and fluidity came from Galahad who jabbed, rolled his shoulders and threw an unorthodox uppercut in a startling similarity to whom he has been compared to; Prince Naseem Hamed but, with just seconds left on the round clock, touched the canvas with his glove after Booth rattled his foundations by denting his temple with a left fist. The referee, Mark Green, administered a count, losing Galahad the only round of the distance contest.
Galahad entered the second round unfazed by shot and produced a seemingly limitless supply of silky one-two-three punch moves that roused the crowd and will have attracted the attentions of judges at ringside. Then, in round three, Galahad really began teeing off, pumping two-punch flurries to Booth’s head whose upright guard proved no defence against an imperious 21-year-old establishing a commanding lead in the fight.
Such authority was fortified in the fourth round as Booth was shaken by a punch-perfect, switch-hitting Galahad as a forceful left cross landed flush after being introduced by a southpaw jab. Even during the middle rounds, as the fight approached territory previously uncharted by Galahad (the Sheffield man had never fought beyond six rounds), the Qatar-born 122lber retained the role of ring general.
In round eight, Booth was continuously foiled by the left cross while Galahad postured in the portside position, however, what was equally impressive by the ever-improving up-and-comer, was what he did when he was not throwing leather. His footwork was exquisite and he did not employ a conventional guard as he instead relied upon upper body movement and head movement, both of which were completely intuitive. Both skills, no doubt, a credit to his schooling at the St Thomas Boys and Girls Club, a converted church also known as the Ingle Gym in Wincobank.
In the tenth, Galahad switched back to the orthodox position and mirrored his work in the previous rounds as he struck Booth with right cross shots that were, this time, led in with left jabs. Towards the end of the stanza, Galahad connected with hook punches and tormented the body when Booth clinched.
In round 11, quietening any questions over whether he would have the stamina to box 12 rounds for his first time, Galahad was in the form of the fight as he landed a left hook, right cross and body shot combo. It was Booth, rather, who appeared fatigued as his shield was so weak that Galahad was easily able to penetrate it by punching through it, crunching the Nottingham-native’s nose.
Galahad closed the fight in a professional manner, kept himself protected and remained an elusive target while never neglecting his attacking responsibility. When the bout was over, the winner was clear, the only debate would be by how big a margin and, with scores of 120-109, 118-111 and 118-110, the sole round that the Kid had lost was the first, but wholly because he gloved down.
Speaking to Channel 5, Booth, a fighter who has mixed it up at world level having narrowly missed out on a win to Steve Molitor in 2010, proclaimed: “He is amongst the best, hands down.”
The win propels Galahad (11-0-0, 4ko) further to the foreground of a division teeming with top domestic talent as Scott Quigg, Carl Frampton and Rendall Munroe represent intriguing match-ups where, if Galahad is equally as successful, will be able to grow from Kid, to man.
Tommy Barber – London
Former amateur standout and recent professional Chris Eubank Jr – the son of stylish ring legend Eubank Sr who dazzled millions of Britons for a five year reign as 168lb king in the 90′s – returns to the ring on Saturday, February 18 at the Magna Science Adventure Centre, Rotherham on the Hennessy Sports promoted Man of Steel card, broadcast on terrestrial television – Channel 5. Kid Galahad, an undefeated super bantamweight prospect, is the co-feature.
“There is great anticipation for Chris Eubank Jr’s second pro fight and rightfully so, he’s a special and unique talent who brings a real buzz to this great sport,” said elated promoter Mick Hennessy.
In his first and only professional bout to date, Eubank Jr (1-0-0, 1ko) scored a technical knockout over Kirilas Psonko last November in Manchester. Showing patience, poise, precision and solid punch power, Eubank Jr produced a box-and-move display that belied his inexperience and prompted Hennessy to claim he had – in terms of talent – already surpassed his British middleweight peers such as Darren Barker, Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray.
Eubank Jr aims to not only secure victory, but to entertain whilst doing so. He said: “I can’t wait to get back in the ring and start to show the world of boxing what I’m all about. I’m not just here to win- I’m here to entertain. I want people to be excited about tuning in to watch my second professional fight live on Channel 5.”
He added: “I got a taste of professional boxing with my first fight and I’m hungry for more.”
Galahad (10-0-0, 4ko) provides the support for the main event and takes on experienced former world title challenger Jason ’2 smooth’ Booth (36-8-0, 15ko) for the WBC International super bantamweight championship, a belt formerly worn by Manny Pacquiao and Prince Naseem Hamed.
“I’m really proud to be showcasing these two brilliant young talents together on Channel 5 and with Kid Galahad headlining for the prestigious WBC International title in only his 11th fight, I believe he will show the boxing world why we have so much faith in him,” said Hennessy.
“Obviously people have known about this great fight between Kid Galahad and Jason Booth for a while now but it was stipulated by the WBC and the Boxing Board that the fight could not be announced until Jason Booths medicals had cleared, which they have now.”
Match-ups between Lenny Daws and Chris Truman, Kash Ali and Karl Bell and Leigh Wood and Jason Cunningham. A further highlight will be Phill Fury’s fight with Lee Noble, who contest the Central Area middleweight title.
Tickets, priced at £30, £50 and £75 are available from Ticketline on 0844 888 4402, Ticketmaster on 0844 888 9991, Livenation on 0114 256 5567, HMV on 0843 221 0100 or from the Hennessy Sports Box office on 01925 755 222.