The British jockey is set to defend his 2,000 Guineas victory this weekend. His trainer has stated that the horse will not be giving up anything for any of its races in 2018 and instead will try to keep improving throughout the year.
8:30 a.m. ET
Nick Parkinson is a writer who lives in the United
- •Boxing reports for ESPN.co.uk and a number of national publications
- •Has covered British boxing for more than 15 years.
- •Shows up on BoxNation’s Boxing Matters
Kid Galahad is looking forward to defending his IBF featherweight championship in front of his home city supporters in Sheffield, England, on Saturday, but things were not always so nice for the IBF champion.
Galahad, who will battle former champion Kiko Martinez, had to relaunch his career after serving an 18-month ban for a drug violation from 2014 to 2016. Following his fight against Adeilson Dos Santos in September 2014, he was given a two-year suspension, which was eventually reduced to six months after he tested positive for the prohibited drug stanozolol.
Galahad (28-1, 17 KOs) stated that after a dispute, his own brother poisoned his drink with an illegal drug. In 2016, he returned to the ring and won eight fights to earn a crack at the world championship. Following a split decision loss to local rival Josh Warrington for the IBF world featherweight gold in June 2019, Galahad regained the title in August when he stopped James “Jazza” Dickens after 11 violent rounds.
Galahad, whose actual name is Abdul-Bari Awad, returned to the Dickens battle after being sidelined for 18 months due to the coronavirus outbreak, but he was no stranger to inaction.
Galahad told ESPN, “When Covid struck, I had already gone through a lockdown of sorts, I was acclimated to it because of the prohibition.” “When I was suspended, I was stranded on an island.” When I returned, I had to keep striving to make boxing work for me. It’s better to be overprepared than underprepared, and I’m continuously working to improve.
“They were trying days, but they made me a stronger person psychologically. Every every day, I continued to train. I was unemployed for 18 months since I couldn’t find work “He went on to say more. “It was like rehearsing for an exam you don’t know when you’ll have. I didn’t have a choice. I didn’t have anything else in my life than boxing. I long ago placed all of my eggs in one basket. It was either boxing or joining the criminal underworld. I needed to make boxing work, and [promoter] Eddie Hearn helped me do it. When I was out, I had to keep believing.”
Kid Galahad defeated Claudio Marrero last summer, paving the way for a successful fight against Jazza Dickens for the vacant featherweight title. Getty Images/Richard Heathcote
Galahad, who migrated to England from Qatar when he was four years old, had dreamed of winning the world championship since he was a youngster.
Galahad was identified at the age of 13 by his trainer Dominic Ingle’s father Brendan, a well-known Irish trainer who died in 2018. After Johnny Nelson (cruiserweight), Naseem Hamed (featherweight), Junior Witter (super lightweight), and Kell Brook (super lightweight), the boxer is Brendan Ingle’s sixth apprentice to win a world championship (welterweight). The Irishman named Galahad his ring moniker after a 1962 film starring Elvis Presley, and he developed Galahad alongside champions at the Wincobank Gym in Sheffield early in his boxing career.
Galahad adds, “I’ve been around this gym for a long time, back when Jonny Nelson, Ryan Rhodes, Junior Witter, and Kell Brook were there.”
“They were all world or European winners, and being around them at such a young age taught me a lot. I know you can’t afford to be complacent in this game; I don’t believe Kell or Junior ever were, but if you look at Mikey Garcia the other week, you can tell he was shocked to be defeated by Sandor Martin, and he must have taken his eye off the ball. Was it complacency or Lara’s style that caused Josh Warrington to lose to Mauricio Lara [who stopped Warrington in the ninth round in a massive shock]?”
Martinez, 35, is a former IBF junior featherweight champion who held the title from 2013 to 2014. Martinez (42-10-2, 29 KOs) has lost seven times on British soil, but Galahad claims he is not looking to beat Warrington, Carl Frampton, American Gary Allen Russell Jr., or Mexican Leo Santa Cruz in terms of victories.
“Martinez has faced some of the best boxers in the world, including Leo Santa Cruz, Josh Warrington, Carl Frampton, and he’s a former world champion,” Galahad adds. “He has so much experience, and I can’t compare my performance to someone else’s and assume I have to achieve the same or better.” I’m focused on what I can achieve rather than what someone else has accomplished. But I’m certain that I’ll do a better job, and I’m going to wreak havoc on him.
“You have to be more hungry at the top of the mountain than when you were ascending to the top.” In boxing, a lot of people say they live the life, but others don’t. I’m constantly working out and making sacrifices.
Galahad understands that he must take care of business this weekend before moving on to larger and more high-profile opponents.
“I’m not really thinking forward; I just want to defeat Martinez,” he adds. “Then we’ll see what my alternatives are, whether it’s the winner of Leigh Wood vs. Michael Conlan, Can Xu, Emanuel Navarrete, or Santa Cruz.” “I can’t wait to fight in front of a crowd in Sheffield; the last time I did so was on the undercard of Kell Brook’s bout over two years ago. Sheffield supporters have been yearning for a huge fight, and I want to put on a show for them by knocking out Kiko. I want to show the fans how much I’ve progressed during their absence.”