Boxing: Galahad headlines action-packed Sheffield bill
After winning the vacant IBF featherweight title in a bout against Jazza Dickens in August, Kid Galahad will take on Kiko Martinez in his first defence of the belt on Saturday night.
Galahad is the headline act on a bill in Sheffield that is filled with local heroes.
Just before the main event, fellow Yorkshire fighter Terri Harper takes on American Alycia Baumgardner in a super-featherweight title fight, while from slightly further afield cruiserweight Chris Billam-Smith faces Frenchman Dylan Bregeon.
To open the card, two up-and-coming northern fighters face off in the shape of James Flint and Dom Hunt, while Sheffield-born Donte Dixon takes on Scotsman Jordan McCorry.
The cruiserweight fight on Saturday night sees Chris Billam-Smith come up against Dylan Bregeon. The French fighter comes into this bout on the back of a loss in Milan to Fabio Turchi in April, whereas Billam-Smith took his record to 13-1 with a victory over Tommy McCarthy in July.
The Gentleman is a 1.04 chance to get another win in Sheffield, and given that 10 of his 13 wins have come by way of knockout, 1.50 for another stoppage seems fair.
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The women's fight on the card sees Terri Harper put her unbeaten record, WBC and IBO super-featherweight titles on the line against Alycia Baumgardner, who is fighting outside of the United States for the first time. Harper returns to the ring for the first time in a year, after her bout with WBA title holder Hyun Mi Choi was cancelled in May after the British fighter sustained a hand injury.
Harper looking to bounce back from injury
Perhaps the key aspect of this fight will be Harper proving she has overcome that injury, as broken hands can derail boxers' careers. Her opponent this time around, Baumgardner, suffered her only loss in her last world title fight, a split decision defeat against Christina Linardatou in 2018.
Harper demonstrated her strength of will in her draw with Nathasha Jonas in August last year, meaning she retained her titles. Belter, as she is known, then picked up a dominant win over Katharina Thanderz in her last bout. The 25-year-old is 1.25 to be victorious here, with her American opponent 4.00 to get the win.
In the main event, Galahad puts his professional record of 28 wins and one loss from his 29 fights on the line. His only loss came in a controversial split-decision defeat to fellow Brit Josh Warrington in June 2019.
Since then, Galahad has forced his last two opponents to throw in the towel. In February 2020, Claudio Marrero's corner pulled him out after the eighth round of their contest and Jazza Dickens' team did the same after the 11th round of their meeting in August this year.
That win over Dickens, the second of Galahad's career against the Liverpudlian, meant that the 31-year-old took the IBF featherweight belt that he had failed to capture in his loss against Warrington.
Case for the defence
His first defence will be against the experienced Kiko Martinez. The Spaniard has a record of 42 wins, 10 losses and two draws from his 54 professional bouts.
The 35-year-old held the IBF super-bantamweight title between 2013 and 2014 and has won European titles at both super-bantamweight and featherweight.
The loss of his IBF super-bantamweight title in 2014 came against Carl Frampton, one of nine occasions that Martinez has fought a British boxer.
La Sensacion's record in those bouts is poor - two wins and seven losses - although he has faced some of the top British fighters, including Frampton, Warrington and Scott Quigg, losing to all three.
His most recent fight on these shores saw him beaten in London by Zelfa Barrett in February by unanimous decision. Since that loss, Martinez has bounced back with a victory over Honduran boxer Jayro Duran back in his home country.
The Spaniard looks unlikely to follow up that win against Galahad, who is on an upward trajectory at this point in his career, while Martinez is venturing into journeyman territory.
Galahad too good
Galahad's precision and speed make him a formidable opponent for anyone in this division and if it was too much for Dickens, the likelihood is it will be for Martinez as well.
The suspicion is that Matchroom were looking to get Galahad a solid defence in front of his home crowd before potential bigger fights next year, including possible unification bouts against WBC title holder Gary Russell Jr or Emanuel Navarrete, who is top of the WBO pile.
The Sheffield bruiser is 1.05 to get the victory on Saturday night, while Martinez is a 8.50 shot and the draw is available at 26.00. Of Galahad's 28 wins, 17 have come by way of knockout and he is 4.00 to be victorious in that manner once again. The fight going the way of the British boxer on the judges scorecards is an 3.75 chance.