Josh Warrington makes his return to Leeds as world champion for the first time as he takes on fellow Brit and mandatory challenger Kid Galahad as both fighters prepare to taste defeat for the first time in their professional careers.
Warrington, who is taking on his 3rd Brit in a row, had a hugely successful 2018, defeating former world champions Carl Frampton & Lee Selby in the process.
Fights that he was an underdog in both, Warrington firstly with the help of the Elland Road faithful managed to dethrone Selby who was attempting to defend his world title for the 6th time.
Leaving Selby bleeding heavily, Warrington won via a split decision, electing to go for a tough first defence of his world title against Northern Irishman Carl Frampton in Manchester.
Arriving as arguably even more of an underdog than he was against Lee Selby, Warrington went after Frampton from the off, perhaps sensing that a 31 year old Frampton may not be able to start as quickly as he used to. Despite Frampton having his moments, Warrington secured a win via unanimous decision this time as more fight fans around the globe began to take note.
After defeating Frampton Warrington publicly made it clear that he’d like to unify the division, facing one of the other champions whether it be WBO titleholder Oscar Valdez or WBA Super champion Leo Santa Cruz possibly in the US.
However, despite Washington’s wishes, the IBF champ was ordered to face Kid Galahad who had forced himself into a mandatory position. Defeating Toka Kahn Clary in October of last year, ‘Barry’ has gone under the radar slightly since returning from his drugs ban just over 2 years ago.
After having a couple of needed warm up fights against limited opposition, Galahad became only the 2nd man (Scott Quigg being the other) to stop Mexican Jose Cayetano, capturing the IBF Inter-Continental Featherweight Title in the process.
Now in a mandatory position, and still undefeated in 26 fights at the age if 29, Galahad finds himself in world title contention perhaps later in his career than he would have liked but nonetheless in a big fight on the big stage.
Onto the fight itself, Warrington goes into the bout both as the champion and the favourite unlike his last 2 appearances in the ring. Many are expecting Warrington’s perhaps more proven natural Boxing skill & elite fitness to play a part in this fight compared to Galahad who hasn’t had the opportunity to showcase himself at the top level yet.
As well as a Galahad win, a knockout in this fight for either opponent seems unlikely. Although previous opponents have stated that Warrington poses a bigger threat as a puncher than his record suggests, the Yorkshire man had to wait until his 16th professional contest to stop an opponent and seems to rock his opponents whilst out-Boxing them rather than score KO’s.
Galahad on paper, poses a bigger knockout threat with 15 stoppages in 26 victories, has stopped 8 out of his last 10 opponents via some sort of stoppage could be forgiven for believing that a stoppage in his favour could be the end result come Saturday night.
What happens next?
If Galahad was to upset the odds, a rematch between the two would be most likely for the back end of 2019, possibly in Galahad’s home city of Sheffield.
However, if Warrington is to wake up on Sunday morning with his world title still by his side, a wealth of unification possibilities over the pond await the featherweight who may not be in a hurry to return to the First Direct Arena against a fellow countryman.