By Olly Campbell : British boxing rocked the world super bantamweight division last night in Belfast after Carl Frampton’s sensational home town defense of his IBF 122lb strap against brash American challenger, Chris Avalos.
After what can only be described as a ruthless and unforgiving clinic in which Frampton stopped his completely outclassed opponent, arguably the biggest domestic fight out there besides Kell Brook V Amir Khan inched ever closer to reality when WBA (reg) champion Scott Quigg entered the ring to be interviewed alongside Frampton and promoter Barry McGuigan.
With social media now awash with speculation as to the finer points of such a contest taking place, representatives from both camps now seem intent on making Frampton v Quigg a reality later in the year. Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Sport, who look after Quigg, have signaled their intent to make the fight and Frampton himself has said he would be prepared to travel to England in order to find a suitably large and accommodating venue for the clash to take place. With its convenient ferry links to Belfast, Liverpool and the Echo Arena could surely be a realistic and suitable compromise?
Massive as such a potential clash may be, it seems obvious that there is one other notable domestic 8st 10lb fighter in the mix, who has been snapping at the heels of both men for a while now, posing a serious and credible threat. With a Quigg and Frampton fight on the cards he now faces something of a quandary in terms of just what his next move should be.
I am of course talking about Sheffield’s Barry "Kid Galahad" Anwar, last year’s British Boxing Writer’s Association Young Fighter of the Year. That accolade alone is something quite special as previous winners such as John Conteh, Nigel Benn, Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe can attest.
The latest product of the Ingle family’s famous Wincobank gym in Sheffield, Galahad is a team mate of current IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook and hopes to follow in the footsteps of such star names to emerge from the gym, such as Herol Graham, Johhny Nelson, Ryan Rhodes, Junior Witter and Naseem Hamed.
Since turning professional in 2009, 24 year old Galahad has amassed an unblemished slate of 18 wins under the Ingles and promoter Mick Hennessy, finishing exactly half of them (9) early. Along the way he has already captured British, Commonwealth and EBU championships alongside the IBF Youth title in his last outing against Brazilian fighter Adeilson Dos Santos. Following this success, he vacated his European title in October last year with the intention of chasing down a world honour , even going so far last year as to famously suggest that he was capable of beating both his domestic rivals, Quigg and Frampton, in the same night!
Galahad remains serious in his assertion that he can win a world title this year, however.
When one assesses who the belt holders at 122lb are, the options facing Galahad’s team are stark, and as such: Carl Frampton (IBF) Guillermo Rigondeaux (WBO/WBA Super) Leo Santa Cruz (WBC) and Scott Quigg (WBA Regular).
His best chance at gaining a portion of a world title is arguably through Bury native Quigg, who himself is not actually recognised as a bone fide champion amongst hardcore boxing circles. He only holds a "regular" version of a title as the "Super" and officially regarded version, is held by Cuban Rigondeaux. The other champions on the list, including Frampton, have operated at a far superior level to Galahad, and at this stage of his career, would be highly unlikely look at him as an opponent worthy of fighting in terms of drawing a crowd and bringing in those crucial pounds and dollars.
It must also be noted here that in the official rankings of boxing’s governing bodies, only the WBC has Galahad rated in the top ten at all at #6 and yet despite this, a shot at Quigg (WBA) would have been easier to make a case for than chasing down Santa Cruz and the WBC title. Especially in the eyes of the British fans.
But with both the domestic champions seemingly out of the picture for the Kid, what possibilities remain? And how realistic is his assertion of winning a world title later this year?
It’s possible Hennessey can pull off an absolute masterstroke and secure a shot at the winner of Quigg and Frampton towards the end of the year PROVIDED it happens, which is looking likely. Mick Hennessey still asserts that he has made an offer to Quigg and Hearn in the past for a fight with Galahad. The offer apparently fell on deaf ears.
The logical question is then what to do in the meantime? And what risks to then take? The super bantamweight division is one of the hottest in world boxing pound for pound. This is the business aspect of boxing. Who SHOULD he face next?
If Galahad truly believes that neither Frampton nor Quigg would like the fight with him, then pursuing the WBC route and Leo Santa Cruz should surely be his ultimate aim? Ranked at #4 with the WBC is a Mexican fighter, Rey Vargas, and this would be an ideal fight for Galahad to test his mettle against a similarly ranked contender on the world stage.
Vargas is also ranked at #5 (IBF) #6 (WBO) so would represent a stern test for Galahad. He is 23-0 with a fearsome 87% knockout ratio. A rising star who has never boxed outside of Mexico, Vargas is also 24 years old, but stylistically is completely different to the mobile, slick, unorthodox Galahad. He is freakishly tall for the weight and carries a huge punch, walking his opponents down and knocking them out. The channel 5 (UK terrestrial TV) exposure Galahad enjoys would represent a fantastic chance for the Mexican to come to the UK and seek to boost his profile to a British audience.
Styles make fights after all, and if Galahad could look good against the danger man, it would signal his intent and send a message to the rest of the division in front of the UK fans who would then surely clamour for him to face the winner of Quigg/Frampton or enter a final eliminator against the likes of Hugo Ruiz or Shingo Wake for a shot at WBC champ Leo Santa Cruz.
What is clear as far as Galahad is concerned is that he has outgrown the domestic and European divisions. Nearest domestic rival, Gavin McDonnell soon fights for the EBU belt Galahad vacated. Josh Wale and Jazza Dickens, both knocked out by Galahad, contest his old Britsh belt on Saturday.
He has talked of returning to the ring in April, but neither a date, nor an opponent has been confirmed. What is evident is that with the big talk, the talent and the boxing writers award, Kid Galahad needs a BIG 2015 and some meaningful, statement fights that will announce him to not just the rest of the Britsh public but to the rest of the WORLD.
Perhaps only then will we see him claim the world title he believes he is destined for.
For further boxing discussion, contact SecondsOut on Facebook. Also, be sure to "LIKE" the SecondsOut Facebook page.
March 2, 2015