Sheffield’s Kid Galahad: IBF title shot against Jazz Dickens last chance to prove Brendan Ingle right...almost 20 years later
Sheffield’s Kid Galahad admits his second shot at a world title could be his last chance to prove the late Brendan Ingle right – almost 20 years after he tipped him for the top.
The 31-year-old featherweight, who still trains six days a week religiously at the Ingle Gym and lives on an adjacent street in Wincobank, will fight 2013 foe and former sparring partner Jazz Dickens on 7 August for the IBF belt previously held by Josh Warrington – the man who beat him in 2019 to retain the title.
Galahad’s well-documented rough upbringing and brushes with authority saw him dismissed by some who said he didn’t deserve a chance when he started boxing aged 12.
But, Ingle stood by him and insisted he would win titles at every level of the sport.
Now, having proved his former mentor and coach right on most counts, he has another opportunity to become a world champion.
“Twelve years I have been a professional and if it wasn’t for Brendan I would probably be locked up or dead,” he tells The Star bluntly.
“The reason I am in this position is because of him. I remember when I first came into the gym no one gave me a chance, the only person who did was him.”
As the last of Ingle’s proteges, it would mean “a lot” to do it for his legacy, says Galahad – whose real name is Abdul-Bari Awad – with a smile.
He admits to spending more time with the boxing legend’s family than his own and long-term trainer, Brendan’s son, Dominic, will be in his corner when he returns to the ring for the first time since beating Claudio Marrero in a comeback fight in February 2020 following the Warrington defeat.
"There will be no ring rust, that’s for people who stay out of the gym, party and don’t do any training,” says Ingle. “Bari is the ultimate pro, because he's focused it will work in his favour in the end.”
Galahad, whose professional record stands at 27-1, adds: "There’s been kids who have been better than me and kids who have been worse and they have come and gone.
"I put all my eggs in one basket, I’m going to make it work no matter what. I have been working from the age of 12, this has been my dream. This is my destiny.”
Ingle puts Galahad’s longevity down to his background and, unlike in the case of some of those who fell away, a lack of prospects outside of boxing.
"You really have to be street kid to be a good fighter, you can’t be middle class or educated,” he says.
"You have got to have that kill or be killed attitude when you are a boxer.”
Lockdown might have put a stop to boxing shows but Galahad refused to take his foot off the pedal in the gym and maintained his intense training regime while he waited for the next opportunity.
He had hoped to fight Dickens on the undercard of Billy Joe Saunders’ fight against Canelo Alvarez before the date was pushed back.
"I have just been on the shelf,” he says. “All I have been doing is chipping away at my craft and getting better.
“I live this life. I have been doing it for such a long time it’s like walking in the park for me."
Blocking his path, however, is a man he beat via a tenth round knockout eight years ago to win the British super bantamweight title. The pair have since sparred on numerous occasions but the past means nothing, Galahad says.
"We have both come on leaps and bounds since that fight, he’s twice the fighter he used to be then. Sparring is sparring at the end of the day, I don’t ever really look into anything in sparring.
"It’s going to be a tough night but I just believe I am a bit better than him in every department. He’s gone up a couple of levels but I believe I have gone up five or six.
"My mindset is to destroy him and not leave it to the judges’ scorecard.”
He agrees “100 per cent” this will probably be his last opportunity to box for a world title, despite feeling like he could carry on for up to six more years.
“This is a very meaningful fight to me because I can’t afford to make any mistakes,” Galahad says.
"I have not got many miles on my clock, I have not really been in a hard fight in my career. I just want to win this world title and we will see where we take it from there.”
After Dickens, there is always the possibility of a rematch with Yorkshire rival Warrington, who inflicted the only defeat of Galahad’s professional career to date when the Leeds fighter ended up on the right side of a split-decision.
“I believe I won,” Galahad says, two years on. “I believe he knows that I won it.
"The second fight will be a lot better, he ain’t going 12 rounds if it happens."
A potential meeting with one of the other world champions in the featherweight division isn’t ruled out, either, if Galahad gets the win.
"Them guys are good but they are all beatable. Anyone is beatable.
“First of all, I have got to do a job on Jazz on 7 August.
"That’s the main thing, I’m going to win that world title and that will be one thing knocked off what Brendan said.”