Kid Galahad’s dream of becoming World Champion was finally realised as he produced a stunning effort to defeat Jazza Dickens and claim the IBF Featherweight crown at the top of the bill on Matchroom Fight Camp Week 2 in Brentwood, Essex, live worldwide on DAZN.
The Sheffield man (28-1, 17 KOs) had been denied the IBF title in a split decision defeat to Josh Warrington in 2019, but he captured the vacant belt after gradually breaking down the stubborn resistance of Dickens, who was pulled out by his corner before the final session started.
“I’ve been waiting 19 years for this and it’s finally here, I’ve finally got it – IBF Champion of the World,” Galahad told DAZN. “Not a little bit, the whole world. This doesn’t say regular champion, this says World Champion. People can think what they want. I come to fight. I’m a full time professional, I don’t take no days off. Jazza Dickens will become a World Champion 100%. Without a doubt, he’ll become a World Champion. I’m just over the moon.
“Thank you Eddie Hearn. If it weren’t for Eddie Hearn I wouldn’t be in this position right now. Thank you to DAZN. I’m just over the moon man. Brendan Ingle told me that I’m going to win everything from Super-Bantamweight up to Lightweight. Nobody believed me and everyone doubted me when I said I’d become Word Champion. Before I met Brendan, I would have probably been locked up in jail. He was the only person that gave me hope. If it wasn’t for boxing, Eddie Hearn, DAZN, Brendan Ingle, my mum I’d probably be locked up or dead.
“Naseem Hamed, I met him at the local mosque. I said to him, ‘Naz, I want to be a World Champion like you’. He told me if I wanted to become a World Champion I needed to go and find Brendan Ingle at the St Thomas’ Boxing Club. The rest is history. I went and met Brendan and that’s it.
“Every single day two busses. 45 minutes. I used to get up at 5.45 to get in for 6.45. Every single day from the age of 12-years-old. When I was 15 I moved out of my area. Brendan told me I’d end up locked up or dead if I stayed in that area. I lived in a crappy house at the bottom of the road with about five other boxers. There were rats and everything. I used to have a mattress on the floor. I lived there from the age of 15 until I was 20 and I got enough money to get my own house.
“My mum is over there somewhere. She’s over the moon. We’ve come from nothing. Hopefully I make a few quid out of this and get her a nice house, and get out of the area. I’m going to dominate the division. I always told Eddie I was going to dominate this division. I will make sure that I clean up this division. Nobody is going to beat me. I just beat the guy who beat Leigh Wood. This says IBF Champion of the whole World. This is not a regular title.”
Fast-rising Ipswich prospect Fabio Wardley wasted no time as he blasted out Nick Webb inside the opening round to retain his English Heavyweight Title and improve his unblemished record to 12-0 (11 KOs).
Surrey fighter Webb made a decent start to the fight, catching Wardley with some punishing shots, but a brief moment of carelessness allowed Wardley to make his impact. The 26-year-old hurt Webb and once he realised that, he unloaded a barrage of hurtful shots forcing the referee to halt the fight.
“It was a big one for me because this was a good test,” Wardley told Matchroom. “He was coming off a good win and we had to just make a bit of an impact, make a bit of a statement. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the cleanest performance but sometimes you’ve just got to grit these ones out and get it done. I proved the difference. I proved that I can take a shot and keep moving like I proved against Molina. You can hit me and I’ll still come back at you with full force. He caught me a few times but it doesn’t faze me, I keep moving and I’ll move to take you out.
“I wasn’t going to let him off the hook. That’s something that we’ve been building on, that killer instinct – to notice and pay attention to when you’ve got someone going. I think in my last few fights I’ve been getting that going. When I hit someone and I see that little chink in their armour, I’m going in and I’m getting the kill.
“I respect every fighter that’s ever stepped in the ring because it’s a dangerous sport and anything can happen. I had to do what I did to get Nick in the ring in the first place because I’ve been chasing Nick for a year. I had to switch up my approach and go for the more aggressive stance and call him out and call him a few names. It’s all for the love of the sport at the end of the day. I respect everyone that gets in there.
“I think I’ve made the most out of every opportunity that’s been put in front of me. I’ve never said no to an opportunity that Ed has given me. I’m becoming increasingly more difficult to match because me, Dill and the team, we don’t say no. If you want to meet me in the ring I’m happy to go there, let’s go. It feels like a dream, it feels like a weird rollercoaster and I’m just running with it. I’m just loving what I’m doing and I’m staying focused.
“I’ve won the English and I’ve defended it; I think that’s me done with it now. Moving forwards for the British, Commonwealth, European – those types of belts are what I’ve got my eyes set on next and obviously Joe (Joyce) is holding onto them. He’s going to be moving on, he’s trying to move to that world level and he’s going to want to drop them sooner or later. I’ll be there ready and waiting.”
Alen Babic’s destructive form continued as he forced Mark Bennett to retire after the fifth round.
‘The Savage’ had to endure a couple of rocky moments in the early rounds but his relentlessness saw him get on top after the second session. It was all one way traffic after that and after enduring a torrid fifth stanza, Bennett’s corner did the right thing and pulled their man out.
“I feel great,” Babic told DAZN. “Thank you for having me, it was a very very tough fight. I didn’t expect that – I’ve got to say that. All kudos to him. He’s a very very tough warrior, a legit warrior. I threw maybe 100 power punches at his head, and I have knockout punches, so it was a very tough and competitive fight. I thank him for that.
“Left, right and I was like, ‘fall, it’s your time to fall’, but he just didn’t want to fall. He really caught me with a few ones. He didn’t catch me flush because I always bob and weave but he’s a very tough man and I respect him.
“This guy was 30kg heavier than me and you saw what happened, he wasn’t stronger in that ring. I can do everything. I’m here to represent the little people who can’t do nothing. I am just little like them – the smallest Heavyweight alive! You can do it if I can do it, I’m nothing special. I just put my mind to it. If you put your mind to it, there’s nothing you can’t do.”
Johnny Fisher was far too powerful for Danny Whitaker as he progressed to 3-0 in front of his father who was watching on from ringside.
A dominant second round saw ‘The Romford Bull’ drop Whitaker twice before the fight was stopped before any more damage could be done.
“It felt fantastic, especially in front of some of my supporters here,” Fisher told Matchroom. “In the future we’ll get a lot more in. It was great to have that little taste of what the future can hold. Respect to Danny Whitaker, a great man and a great opponent. I’m ready for the next step. I feel like I prepared better for this fight than any of my previous fights – especially with Mark being back. I’ve got a great assistant trainer in Steve Andrews. We’ve got a long way to go but I’m in a good place.
“My mum and dad are here, and my brothers are here. It’s brilliant. My little sister is at home. We’re going to have a nice Chinese now and celebrate. I think it’s the confidence that you can take from knowing that you have prepared well. Lennox Lewis sent me a message before my debut, ‘the more I prepare, the less I worry’, and that was testament to the work that we’ve been doing in the gym.
“I’ve definitely calmed down from the second fight. I think it’s different when you’ve got someone with a winning record in there. I’ve got a long long way to go to calm myself down and box on the back foot, but I know I can box on the back foot because I’ve showed it before in sparring. Doing it in the ring is another thing and that’s why we have a process. I’m only 22-years-old and I’ve got to build. You’ve got to stay humble and you’ve got to stay ready.
“We all know in our area about Mark Tibbs and his dad and how great they are. It’s not just that he’s my boxing trainer, we’re good friends and we get on really well. He said to me once that it’s like we’ve known each other forever and it is. It’s brilliant to be working with someone who is such a legend in the sport. Boxing is a very brutal sport and it can end at any time for anyone, especially at Heavyweight. You’ve got to have respect for all of your opponents. You’ve got to be ready for anything, and the best way to be is to be honest.”
Popular Australian Ebanie Bridges returned to winning ways by stopping Bec Connolly in three rounds.
Bridges found a superb right hand to floor the Swindon fighter and when a further attack followed once Connolly was back on her feet, the referee made a sensible intervention.
“To be back here in the UK, and to win and get my hand raised is amazing,” Bridges told DAZN. “Las time I was unlucky, although I still got a good reception. It was good to get in here and get my hand raised for my fans. I had a few people here supporting me so shout out to everyone that came. I saw you there with your Aussie flags and I appreciate you. It feels great.
“Winning is what it’s all about. It’s all good having the fanbase and the social media presence but if you’re not winning it can only go so far. Winning is important. It feels good. She was more difficult in the sense she was holding and a bit rough on the inside. That was new for me. I’m not used to people holding.
“I thought I would finish it in the later rounds. I knew I would break her down. I was just aiming for her body for the first few rounds because I wanted to break her body down so I could open her up to the head, and that’s exactly what we did. That’s what our plan was.
“By the third round I already had her hands dropping from going to the body and then that’s why that right hand was landing. That’s the one that stopped it. Obviously I want the rematch with ‘Shanny’. That’s what everyone wants, not just me. I know I want it, the fans want it, I’m pretty sure Eddie Hearn wants it. The only one that doesn’t want it is her.
“Hopefully she wants it, but then again she’s on her journey and I’ve got to focus on mine. I don’t hold my breath. The ball is in her court, and if she doesn’t take it, I suppose it looks a bit like she’s running.
“To all my fans and everyone that supported me tonight – I hope you enjoyed it. I love being back in the UK and I love being on DAZN. It’s a great platform as well with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom so a big thank you to them. This is just the comeback.”
Oldham prospect Aqib Fiaz advanced his record to 7-0 as he defeated Spain’s Kevin Baldospino on points. The 21-year-old was made to work hard and that was reflected in the 77-76 scorecard.
“I’m just glad to be back after such a long layoff,” Fiaz told Matchroom. “It’s good to get back in there and get the win. It wasn’t my best performance, but I got the win most importantly. It was emotional to get back in there, especially here as well. It meant a lot to me. I had to come in and do my job no matter what.
“It wasn’t my best performance. We’re going to go away and look at the mistakes I made, then we’ll definitely work on them and be better next time. Even going into the last round, I felt I did enough to win. It was probably the right decision yeah. He was a tough man. I hurt him a couple of times and he stuck in there and dug in. Credit to him.
“I expected to be better than that, and I definitely am better than that. I need to be better than that. The fight didn’t go the way I wanted to. It’s about learning, and I feel like that’s a good learning fight. I’m definitely better than that, I just need activity. The more time I’m in the ring, the better I’ll be.
“I’ve had a lot going on, and my team have had my back. They’re like father figures to me. They’ve been there for me when I’ve been at my lowest. I’m here today because of them. Ten months is probably the longest layoff that I’ve ever had in my amateur career and pro. It’s good to be back, but let’s be back soon.”