Kid Galahad defends his world championship against the experienced Kiko Martinez and Betfair's Frankie Monkhouse makes his predictions...
"Kid has won each of his last two by stoppage in the second half of bouts"
As we race towards the end of 2021, there are some huge boxing nights ahead, and Matchroom presents an excellent card from Yorkshire this weekend. Following the drama of Saul Alvarez's historic win over Caleb Plant in Las Vegas a week ago, we return to domestic action, and fans have another treat in store.
Kid Galahad defends his IBF world featherweight title against experienced Spaniard Kiko Martinez in Saturday's top of the bill bout from the Sheffield Arena. That clash, scheduled for 12 rounds, headlines a programme including four title fights, with three world title belts up for grabs, a European strap, and an area title.
Galahad is the main attraction, and his band of loyal followers will arrive at the arena on fight night expecting to see their man score another impressive win. Still, Team Galahad know they can take nothing for granted here. The challenger has seen it all before and is no stranger to pulling off an upset win on the main stage.
Kid has lost only once
Galahad worked tirelessly to realise his dream of becoming champion of the world, battling against the best in his division, as well as being in the "who needs them" club. The 31-year-old from the Steel City is one of the most avoided fighters on the British boxing circuit due to his talents and awkward style. Champions steered clear of Kid for as long as possible, knowing he had the ability to make even the most exciting fighters look clumsy. Now he has the IBF belt secured around his waist he'll want to keep hold of it for as long as possible.
The champion brings a professional record of 28 wins against one defeat, with 17 of those victories scored inside the distance. The spare loss on his card was inflicted by fellow Englishman Josh Warrington in 2019 when the Leeds Warrior won a controversial split decision at the First Direct Arena. The scorecards that evening were judged to be harsh on Galahad, reading 115-113, 113-116, 116-112. Warrington has since lost, stopped in nine by Mauricio Lara.
Kid has fought twice since losing to Warrington, scoring back to back stoppage wins. He dealt with Claudio Marrero in round eight before stopping James Dickens in the 11th round of what was a fascinating duel back in the summer. Galahad is 1/16 for the win at Betfair Sportsbook.
Martinez is a road warrior
Martinez travels to Yorkshire from his base in Alicante with hopes of pulling off an upset. He has been written off by bettors and most experts of the fight game, but Kiko has the experience and skills to cause problems. The challenger brings a stunning professional record of 54 bouts with 42 wins, 10 defeats and a pair of draws. He has stopped 29 opponents to date but lost four times inside the distance.
The experienced warrior is no stranger to fighting in this part of the world and has secured some impressive wins in the United Kingdom and Ireland. He first fought outside of Spain when stopping Bernard Dunne inside a round in Dublin over 14 years ago. Martinez lost on points to Rendall Munroe, was stopped in nine by Carl Frampton, taken out in two by Scott Quigg and beaten on points by Warrington. Kiko last fought in the UK in February of this year when out-pointed by Zelfa Barrett at Wembley Arena on the undercard of Warrington v Lara.
Martinez did secure an eight-round points win over Jayro Duran in Barcelona in September, sending his opponent to the canvas on route to that victory. Does Martinez have one last big performance left in him? Can he roll back the years and win in Britain to become world champion in the later stages of his career? The betting suggests it's unlikely with Martinez trading at 7/1.
Tough career is taking its toll
Galahad is a supremely talented boxer capable of out-foxing the best in the division. His style isn't the most entertaining to watch, and that has held him back a bit over the years, but it is effective. Kid has won each of his last two by stoppage in the second half of bouts. He's certainly not a man known for going on the front foot early and taking unnecessary risks.
Martinez is 35 years old and has endured a tough career. That will catch up with him, and La Sensacion doesn't have too many big nights left in him. Each of his last two bouts has gone the distance, and he knows enough to survive into the later rounds when Kid will eventually get through to him and score a stoppage.
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