YOU get the impression that had it not been ordered by the IBF there would be no chance Josh Warrington would ever voluntarily defend his featherweight belt against Kid Galahad.
That doesn’t mean he is worried about the Sheffield man’s skills. Instead, it’s a mark of how much the Leeds fighter is turned off by Galahad’s attitude, behaviour and past misdemeanours.
Galahad, of course, is undefeated in 26 fights and the IBF’s number one-ranked contender. But, crucial to the story-line of this fight, his ascent to a world title shot was interrupted by a two-year suspension (later reduced to 18 months) from UK Anti-Doping in 2015 following a positive test for a banned steroid. Galahad professed his innocence at every turn, claiming his drink had been spiked by his brother after a disagreement over money, yet Warrington and (more importantly) UKAD weren’t having any of it.
“I don’t like this cocky persona he’s got, and I don’t like his attitude,” Warrington told the Yorkshire Post.
“When he talks about his drugs ban it’s like he doesn’t have any remorse. When you’re in athletics or something like that, people cheating means other athletes can lose out on medals. The difference in boxing is that you’re going in there to hurt each other. I don’t like it and he’s a disgrace to the sport in my eyes.”
“I wanted to be unifying belts, but I’ve got Kid Galahad in the way of that now so it’s all the motivation I need.
“I can’t overlook him, and I’d never do that with anybody.”
Warrington won the IBF title last year at Elland Road, beating Lee Selby in what was another ill-tempered nine-stone clash. Chances are, though, this one, fuelled by more than just your typical pre-fight hype with pay-per-view buys in mind, turns even uglier.
Dominic Breazeale is seemingly up for fighting Dillian Whyte this year, perhaps sooner rather than later, but insists he would rather do it in America and, better yet, fight for a world title beforehand.
That’s the American’s preference, according to a piece in The Independent, and who are we to argue?
What is up for argument, however, is Breazeale’s claim that people have been talking about Whyte vs. Breazeale for a while and that Breazeale, being a fan-pleasing type of guy, somehow feels duty-bound to give the fans the fight they want to see. You can certainly question that bit.
“People have talked about it for a while. I am a fan-pleasing type of guy, so if that’s what the fans want to see, I’m all for it,” Breazeale said.
“At the same time, I’m not going to pass up opportunities to fight for the WBC title, to go down there to fight Dillian Whyte. I hope he does make some type of a deal. He can come here to the United States and he can get all he wants of Dominic Breazeale.”
Dillian Whyte is now in the unusual position of being a title-less heavyweight contender who believes his stock is high enough, based on a connection with Anthony Joshua, to be a pay-per-view star in his own right. It’s not entirely his fault, either. Whyte, after all, has been sold as a PPV commodity in recent times – fights with Joseph Parker and Dereck Chisora were both on this platform – and is now merely flexing and talking like a man for whom anything less than PPV headline money is deemed an insult. It’s why a rematch with Anthony Joshua, a natural for April at Wembley Stadium, has now fallen by the wayside, and why Whyte has been left to line up second-tier opponents in the hope of securing another PPV headliner that keeps a highly-ranked contender ticking over while he waits for The Big One.
“I’m trying to get a certain Dominic Breazeale because he’s the mandatory, even though I’m the number one challenger – which doesn’t make sense,” Whyte said.
“So, if I can get him in the ring and have a dust up with him and beat him, then I will become mandatory and Deontay Wilder will have to stop hiding from me eventually. But we’ll see.
“If that doesn’t happen, I need to stay busy because I don’t want to sit around and wait seven, eight, nine months doing nothing. I prefer to keep risking my position and keep fighting. It’s dangerous and it’s quite frustrating but I just want to be busy and keep entertaining the fans.
“Breazeale, [Alexander] Povetkin, [Luis] Ortiz, those kind of opponents. There’s the four top guys – me, Joshua, Wilder, Fury – and then there’s about another four guys underneath and I have to be careful who I fight because I don’t want to take too much of a backwards step.
“I want to fight the other three guys above me. But, at the end of the day, I have to go just a little bit down and I think Breazeale is perfect. If not him, Povetkin, If not him, Ortiz.”
Keep busy fights are perfectly fine. It’s the keep busy pay-per-view headline fights that aren’t.
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