Kid Galahad insists he has zero miles on the clock ahead of Kiko Martinez fight at Sheffield’s Utilita Arena

It’s lonely at the top, just ask Kid Galahad.

Monday, 8th November 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 8th November 2021, 11:34 am

The newly crowned world champion, now 31, struggled to find anyone in the featherweight division prepared to challenge him for a shot at the IBF belt he won in August, with promoter Eddie Hearn knocked back by four different fighters before Kiko Martinez stepped forward.

“The hardest part was just getting an opponent,” Galahad said ahead of Saturday’s fight at Sheffield Arena.

"They either wanted crazy money or just didn’t want the fight. I don’t understand it, if you are a professional that’s what we do, we fight."

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sheffield boxer Kid Galahad ahead of his first headline show in Sheffield and first world title defence against Kiko Martinez. Picture Scott Merrylees.

Overcoming the challenge of former IBF super-bantamweight champion Martinez has become a rite of passage for world champions.

The likes of Josh Warrington, Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg, Leo Santa Cruz and Gary Russell Jr have all fought and beat the Spaniard with world titles on the line.

"Kiko is like a gatekeeper,” said Galahad. “He’s above European level but the kids he fights at world level are just a bit too good for him.”

Galahad’s trainer Dom Ingle added: “You can’t always fight the top-level fighters, there’s going to be mix and match.

"Kiko comes to win, he doesn’t come just to play the part. He’s coming to have his chance.”

The experienced Martinez, who is 35 and a veteran of 54 fights (42-10-2, 29 KOs) upset the odds last time he became world champion when he stopped a then-unbeaten Jonathan Romero as the away fighter in 2013.

Galahad admitted he is now ‘the hunted’ and said: “It’s a harder position to be in.”

The likes of Warrington have come unstuck against unfancied opponents when their focus was on bigger names and possible unification fights.

"Of course I want unification and of course I want to be in big domestic fights,” Galahad said.

But for now any path towards that is unclear, with the prospect of a domestic clash against former stablemate Leigh Wood or Warrington also unlikely in the foreseeable future.

"They will come as long as you keep winning,” Galahad, who stated he is in no rush, concluded. “It could be next. You can’t have a clear path unless you are a cash cow.

"You are not going to go one, two then three but I feel like I have zero miles on the clock.”