Galahad, Wardley, Babic & Ebanie all victorious
By William Lloyd: Promoter Eddie Hearn was over the moon on Saturday night with the brilliant performances by Kid Galahad, Alen Babic, Ebanie Bridges, and Fabio Wardley with their victories at Matchroom HQ in Brentwood, Essex. It was a beautiful night with stellar performances from those four fights, including heavyweight prospect Johnny Fisher.
(Photo credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing)
Kid Galahad (28-1, 17 KOs) carried the show with his eleventh round stoppage win over James ‘Jazza’ Dickens to claim the vacant IBF featherweight title.
That was the second attempt for Galahad to capture the IBF title, having failed two years ago in a controversial 12 round split decision to Josh Warrington. This time, Galahad. 31 would not be denied, throwing well over 1,o00 punches to wear down a brave Jazza Dickens (30-4, 11 KOs).
Jazza fought Galahad to a standstill in the first four rounds, but the match got out of hand at the midpoint of the fight. Galahad was throwing too many punches, and he was doing damage to Jazza’s face. After the 11th round, Jazza’s training team realized that he had no chance of winning, so they pulled him out of the fight to save him from taking more of a beating.
Dickens, 30, did have his moments in the fight, landing some beautiful left hands at times that got the crowd excited. However, he couldn’t throw enough to keep up with the busy pace that Galahad was setting.
With a little more power, Jazza would have had a chance to win, but he didn’t have enough pop in his shots.
The fight slowly got out of hand for Dickens when it crept into the second half of the bout. Galahad was throwing body shots that seemed to take something out of Jazza.
The punches from Galahad caused Jazza’s face to swell over both eyes, and he was already nursing a bad cut over his left eye from the opening round.
Galahad threw over 1000 punches
“Incredible, full of drama, thunderstorms, rain, knockouts, world championships, world champions crowned, proposals an amazing night topped off by a masterclass from Kid Galahad to become Sheffield’s new world champion,” said Eddie Hearn to Matchroom Boxing.
“He [Kid Galahad] is and he’s always been a nightmare for every heavyweight, but sometimes you just need your opportunity,” continued Hearn on Galahad’s win.
“Jazza Dickens was fantastic, and after four rounds, I thought, ‘This is going to be interesting.’ Kid Galahad went through the gears, his accuracy, his shot selection, his strength, and his size.
“People talked about his inactivity, and people talked about him struggling at the weight. He just proved everybody wrong tonight.
“He wasn’t going to be denied, and some people that criticized his performances from the past for being a little bit dull, I think he threw over 1000 punches tonight in that performance. He wasn’t going to be denied. He’s got a big future ahead of him,” said Hearn.
There were too many punches being thrown by Kid Galahad for Jazza Dickens to contend with in the fight, and it was too much at the end.
For a different featherweight type like Emanuel Navarrete, he would have been able to force Galahad to throw far fewer shots due to his power. Jazza didn’t have anything to keep Galahad off, so he was able to get away with his volume punching against him.
Hearn wants Galahad to face Lara – Warrington II winner
“I think so too, to defend that title, and look at the other champions,” said Hearn about Galahad defending his newly won IBF 126-lb title against the winner of the Mauricio Lara vs. Josh Warrington II rematch.
“Josh Warrington would love to reclaim another world championship, but he doesn’t really have his eyes set on Kid Galahad. He has his eyes on Mauricio Lara.
“Leigh Wood, if he’s elevated to Super Champion, Nottingham vs. Sheffield in a unification would be fantastic. You’ve got [WBO 126-lb champion Emanuel] Navarrete as well, you’ve got [WBA Super World 126lb champion Leo] Santa Cruz.
“Let’s see what he does. But they’re not going to be queuing up to fight Kid Galahad. This young man can really fight,” Hearn said.
As long as Galahad is on board with waiting a little while before scheduling his next fight, it’s a good idea for Hearn to try and set up a fight with the winner of the Mauricio Lara vs. Josh Warrington 2 match.
It’s not a good idea to let Galahad WBO featherweight champion Emanuel Navarrete or WBA champ, Leo Santa Cruz.
Those guys are clearly better than Galahad, as is WBC champion Gary Russell Jr. Galahad is a good fighter, but not at the level of those champions.
Fabio Wardley destroys Nick Webb
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Hearn on Fabio Wardley destroying Nick Webb in one round. “I was just about to Tweet, saying ‘Big round for Nick Webb,’ and Fabio just bit down on his gumshield and battered him in the corner.
“I would have liked to have seen the ref give a count, personally. I thought he panicked a little bit, but I don’t think Nick Webb would have gotten up.
“He didn’t complain, and he looked shellshocked. He went from looking really good, really strong, and dominant in the first round to just taking a pasting in the corner.
“It’s a big statement. It was a big statement, a big win for Fabio Wardley, especially the way he did it,” said Hearn.
Fabio Wardley (12-0, 11 KOs) looked extraordinary in stopping Nick Webb (17-3, 11 KOs) in the first round.
What was interesting was how great Webb looked at the start of the round, then things quickly fell apart for him once he started getting hit.
Wardley trapped Webb in the corner and unloaded with a storm of shots that resulted in a Nick hitting the deck.
Unfortunately, the referee waved it off at this point despite Webb looking fine trying to get up. It appears that the referee made his mind up to stop the fight BEFORE Webb went down, which explains his hasty stoppage.
Alen Babic smashes Mark Bennett
“For the first three rounds, it was a good heavyweight fight,” said Hearn about Alen Babic’s clash against Mark Bennett. “It was enjoyable.
“You’ve got to give credit for Mark Bennett because he was gassed. He just wouldn’t give up. They pulled him out in the end. It was the right move. Alen Babic?
“Did he throw 600 punches in 600 rounds or something like that? Not all of them connected. You pick up your phone and look at social media and you see that ‘Alen Babic savage.’
“It’s just trending all over the place. People love to watch this guy, and he’s incredibly entertaining.
“I was actually in the house watching down and I didn’t know what he was doing.
“He pointed over there and got on one knee and I thought, ‘Oh no, he’s proposing.’
“He’s actually a lovely man, a lovely, lovely man, and congratulations to him and his future wife,” Hearn said.
In another exciting fight, heavyweight Alen Babic (8-0, 8 KOs) battered and stopped Mark Bennett (7-2, 1 KOs) by a fifth round knockout. Babic was getting hit a lot early doors, but he took over with his high work rate and eventually stopped Bennett in the fifth.
Ebanie Bridges stops Bec Connolly
“Let’s just make one thing clear about Ebanie Bridges,” said Hearn. “We know that she’s a laugh and that she likes to weigh-in in certain outfits, and she drives huge numbers on social media.
“She can really fight. She’s dedicated to this sport. Not many people stop Bec Connolly in that kind of fashion.
“She can really punch. I want her to fight for a world title. Whether that’s a Shannon Courtney rematch, we’ll see, or whether that’s another champion. She’s exciting. People like to watch her, and she has a big future ahead of her,” said Hearn.
Ebanie Bridges looked powerful in stopping Beck Connolly in the third round. In the third round, Ebabiel knocked Bec down with a hard right hand.
The fight was then halted. Hearn wants to set up a rematch between Ebanie and Shannon Courtenay.
Johnny Fisher TKOs Danny Whitaker
“Really good, Johnny [Fisher] is coming on perfectly,” said Hearn about heavyweight prospect Johnny Fisher’s second round knockout win over Danny Whitaker.
“Tonight, it may not have looked like a big step up, but on paper, it was. We didn’t expect to be fighting people like Danny Whitaker in his third fight.
“He’s [Fisher] coming along nicely, he’s not getting excited. He’s got a great head on his shoulders, a great team around him.
“This is a great talent in the heavyweight division in Johnny Fisher, and I’m going to really enjoy being a part of that progress,” said Hearn.
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