Sheffield featherweight Kid Galahad steps straight back into a final eliminator for the IBF world championship when he takes on the Dominican Republic's Claudio Marrero (24-3-0, 17 Ko's). Coming off the back of his points defeat to Leeds's IBF champion Josh Warrington in a forgettable spectacle, it seems strange that the IBF has given Galahad (real name Abdul Barry Awad) a fast track back into another chance at their 126lb title. The pair meet at the Sheffield Arena on Saturday, February 8th with the fight being streamed live on DAZN in the United States and shown in the UK by Sky Sports.
Boxing fans and critics didn't enjoy Galahad's attempt at stealing Warrington's title with grab and hold tactics but to be fair to the Sheffield stylist, he didn't do that bad at it, losing by split decision.
Ever since Galahad's 2-year ban for using PED's, the fans and media have found it hard to warm to the former British, Commonwealth, and European super-bantamweight titleholder. Considering how bigger, higher-earning boxers caught using PED's have been forgiven with far less criticism, it does seem harsh on Galahad who had the courage to earn his chance against Warrington by travelling to America to face the fancied and undefeated Mayweather promoted Toka Khan Clary.
In the build-up to the Warrington clash, the champion's team did everything they could to make the whole deal being about them having to face a drug cheat. No-one is ever going to make out that the business of boxing is any more righteous than politics or organised crime, but the same people are now chasing a money-spinning unification fight with Shakur Stevenson who has been on probation after being involved in an assault which was caught on CCTV in a Florida car park. If Stevenson or his backers had been unable to pay his way out of this situation he would be doing jail time. Still, Team Warrington can overlook the fact that a woman was punched during the unprovoked attack seeing as it will produce a career-high payday.
Galahad once again faces a very tough opponent in his quest for a second crack at Warrington. Claudio Marrero is a former WBA Interim and IBO world featherweight titleholder who has stopped 17 of his 24 victims in a 19-year career as a pro. Born and still residing in Santa Domingo in the Dominican Republic, the 30-year-old has only lost to world-class opposition. The standout result of his career was a 1st round destruction of Carlos Zambrano (26-0-0) in his title-winning bout in April 2017.
While Galahad will probably never be a 'fan favourite' there are few who could argue that he certainly has proved himself to be a world-class operator. He has never before been a spoiler the way he was in the Warrington fight, but for me, the champion who has a huge and loyal following in Leeds is operating on a higher level than the likes of Galahad or Stevenson and is unlikely to lose to anyone crazy enough to challenge him at home in Leeds.
This is a fight where Galahad has to respect his opponent's achievements. The Dominican is a seasoned performer at this level and has won big fights on the road before. If Marrero is allowed to get a foothold in the early rounds he may take the play away from the hometown fighter.
Galahad has been here before and I don't see him being anything other than the consummate professional and coming into the fight in great shape and with a game plan to deal with Marrero.
Prediction: Galahad to win a comfortable point's decision.