JOSH WARRINGTON clung onto his IBF featherweight title via contentious split decision over the unlucky Kid Galahad. One score of 115-113 in the challenger’s favour was overruled by tallies of 116-112 and 116-113 for Warrington after a messy and hard to score 12-rounder.
“I knew it were close but you can’t come to a champion’s backyard and win the title by fighting like that,” said Warrington, 29-0 (6). “He was clever with the way he was fighting. I put myself under a lot of pressure, I was tense and I got carried away with it all.”
Warrington was busier throughout but how many of his punches truly scored should be up for debate. Unquestionably, it was his work-rate that was the deciding factor on the judges’ scorecards in Leeds’ First Direct Arena.
Galahad exhibited what a difficult night it was going to be for Leeds’ Warrington in a hectic yet messy opening round. The challenger, as expected, switched stances, befuddling the favourite and preventing Warrington from scoring with anything other than single shots.
The pattern continued into the second round and Galahad seemed to feed off Warrington’s frustration, countering sharply as the champion waded in, charged up by his vociferous fans. Warrington had some success with his straight right in third but Galahad appeared to take the fourth, standing in range and clouting his rival when he got close.
The crowd roared in the fifth as the champion got on the front foot and momentarily rocked Galahad with a sweeping right hand. Yet the feeling was that the Sheffield man was still in control, at least of the pace, as he expertly took the steam out of Warrington’s work.