Kid Galahad dominates Jazza Dickens for 11th-round stoppage, lifts IBF 126-pound title
ESSEX, England – On a cold and damp evening for the second of Matchroom’s three Fight Camps, Kid Galahad raised the IBF featherweight title aloft with an impressive and ultimately one-sided victory over a game and gutsy Jazza Dickens.
“I’ve been waiting 19 years for this and I’ve finally got it,” said the jubilant victor.
“I come to fight. I’m a full-time professional. I don’t take no days off. Jazza will be a world champion 100 percent. Eighteen months out and I smashed him from pillar to post.”
Galahad also saluted his first trainer, the late Brendan Ingle, paying tribute to the Sheffield guru.
“Brendan said I would win everything from [junior featherweight] to lightweight,” added Galahad. “If it wasn’t for Brendan I would probably be locked up or in jail.”
Liverpool’s Dickens is now 30-4 while Galahad, who wants to unify the division, is now 28-1.
Both looked sharp in the opener. Dickens landed a crisp overhand left from his southpaw stance while Galahad connected with some solid shots to Jazza’s body. There wasn’t much between them but the action was classy and constant.
“Win rounds and you’re world champ, Jazza,” yelled Dickens’s manager Tony Bellew from ringside through the second, but Galahad, looking supremely fit and strong in close, took the session and Dickens was bleeding from a cut by his left eye that Kerry Kayes tended to between rounds.
The Liverpool man landed a short right hook in close in the third but although he connected with a straight left, too, Galahad was changing stances and having his own successes.
It was enthralling stuff from two fighters who know each other well. Galahad won via 10th round stoppage when they met back in 2013 and they’ve sparred many rounds since.
Dickens fired over a terrific left hand again in the fourth and the tempo remained high. Galahad was doubling his jab, switching stances and doubling it again as he scanned for openings, all the while investing to the body.
The Sheffield switch-hitter was making Dickens work without a breather and that pace continued through the fifth. Galahad stayed in range and either made Dickens fire to keep him off or move to stay out of harm’s way.
The Liverpool fighter’s face was starting to mark up badly and his blood was staining Galahad’s white shorts. Worryingly, Dickens slowed dramatically in the sixth.
“Just keep working, Jazza,” urged Bellew.
But Dickens was looking ragged and starting to bleed from the nose now, too.
Dickens landed a straight left early in the seventh and he landed some good uppercuts but you got the feeling that while it might not have been his last hurrah that he couldn’t have five hard rounds left in him.
He spat out a load of blood as he returned to his corner.
Nothing he did could discourage Galahad, either. Kid was looking comfortable and he will never run out of gas. He’s lived in the gym for nearly two decades.
Dickens was all heart and balls. Galahad was surgically efficient with his body positioning and the manner in which he made Dickens grind through every second.
“Twos and threes,” screamed Derry Mathews, Jazza’s trainer, hopefully.
Galahad, who had more success in the southpaw stance, speared Jazza’s head back several times in Round 9 and Dickens endured a torrid spell on the ropes near the end of the session.
Dickens landed a long left early in Round 10 but he took the same shot back with interest moments later and his face was now a gruesome mask of blood and swelling.
Galahad was docked a point for stepping on Dickens’s foot in the 10th – he had been warned earlier – but the fight was surely gone by that point.
You could have made a salient case to have pulled Dickens out after 10. He soaked up a sickening left to the body and Galahad was moving in the 11th as smoothly and effectively as he had in the third. He wasn’t going to take his foot off the gas, either.
Before the final session, referee Michael Alexander checked on the wounds on Dickens’s face and he had no choice but to stop it. Jazza’s face was a horrendous mess and Alexander waved it off.
Galahad lifted the IBF belt aloft. He’d started his journey with trainer Brendan Ingle and follows in the footsteps of Johnny Nelson, Kell Brook (who was ringside), Naseem Hamed and Junior Witter as world champions from the famed Sheffield gym.
Promoter Eddie Hearn said Galahad would make a defense in Sheffield later this year and then look toward unification fights.
“I will make sure I clean up this division,” said Galahad, who is currently rated No. 4 by The Ring at featherweight.
Heavyweight Nick Webb started well against 12-0 Fabio Wardley, landing some good right hands and making some aggressive moves. But Webb got trapped in a corner, Wardley put his foot down and didn’t let Webb off the hook.
Nick took some real stick along the ropes and was dropped heavily as referee Kieran McCann intervened at the 2:37 mark of the first round.
Webb is now 17-3.
Croatian heavyweight Alen Babic was involved in a wild-swinging affair with Mark Bennett. Bennett got rid of his mouthpiece twice in the first round to get some respite but he came back firing in the second.
It was far from technical but there was real effort from both, even though defense was a dirty word. Their tanks were running low in the third and fourth and punch-weary Bennett, approximately 60 pounds lighter than his opponent, was withdrawn by the referee at the end of the fifth.
Babic improved to 8-0 and promptly asked his girlfriend to marry him.
Bennett is now 8-2.
Jamie Moore-trained welterweight Aqib Fiaz, 7-0, defeated Kevin Boldospino 77-76 in a good eight-round scrap to open the show. Baldospino took some hefty whacks but remained game and threw plenty of his own shots even if the fight didn’t seem as close as referee Kieran McCann had scored it. Meanwhile, Ebanie Bridges floored Bec Connolly in the third moments before stopping her on her feet.