Kid Galahad will make the first defense of his IBF featherweight title on Saturday, November 13, facing veteran challenger Kiko Martinez.
Galahad (28-1, 17 KO) will have home field advantage in Sheffield, England, and will be a heavy favorite against the 35-year-old Martinez (42-10-2, 29 KO), who has been around the block and then some in his 17-year career.
Spain’s Martinez, nicknamed “La Sensacion,” has been in notable fights since 2007, when he went to Dublin and obliterated European 122 lb champion Bernard Dune in just 86 seconds. He’s also become very familiar in the United Kingdom, as he’s fought eight times in the UK, though you have to say things haven’t gone his way, as he’s 1-7 in those fights, with losses to Rendall Munroe (twice), Carl Frampton (twice), Scott Quigg, Josh Warrington, and most recently, Zelfa Barrett. His only win on UK soil came over club fighter Dougie Curran in 2012.
Martinez has been a European champion at 122 and 126, and held the IBF title at junior featherweight, too, upsetting Jonathan Romero in 2013 and making two successful defenses before losing it to Frampton in 2014. He’s made other unsuccessful world title challenges at 122 and 126.
Given his age, his record in the United Kingdom, and the fact that he’s facing an in-prime, top-level fighter on the road, it really is hard to figure a way Kiko can win this fight, and really easy to criticize the matchmaking from Matchroom. More than anything, Martinez seems to be here for a “victory lap” defense from Galahad at home. Martinez does always come to scrap; he’s a hard-working veteran fighter who doesn’t just roll over.
But yes, Galahad should win this, and if he doesn’t, it’s a sizable upset. The 31-year-old Galahad has had bumps in his career, mainly a lengthy doping suspension that began in 2015 and was meant to last two years, but ultimately was cut down by six months, and he was able to return in the spring of 2016.
He’s done well since then, stating slowly with the opposition but staying busy, and then picking it up notch-by-notch. He got a world title shot in June 2019 against Josh Warrington, and in any town except Leeds, Galahad may well have nicked the belt that night, instead losing a split decision in a lousy fight, so far as entertainment goes.
Galahad came back from that with a wipeout win over Claudio Marrero, a solid fighter, in early 2020, and picked up his world title against Jazza Dickens in August of this year, with Warrington having vacated rather than take an ordered rematch with Galahad. Dickens, who had been on a good run, was no match for Galahad, who battered his opponent for 11 rounds before the fight was stopped.
Galahad’s not really what you think of when you think “big puncher,” but he puts some thump on his jabs and certainly isn’t feather-fisted. He’s also looking in really strong form, and the on-paper reality is that Martinez is no step up from Marrero or Dickens, he’s a sideways step at best. This figures to be a fairly routine first defense for Galahad before he and Matchroom look toward possible unification or other big fights in 2022.
The co-feature is one to keep an eye on, as Terri Harper (11-0-1, 6 KO) defends her WBC junior lightweight title against Alycia Baumgardner, a key matchup in arguably women’s boxing’s best division at the moment.
Harper, 25, is rare for the “new generation” of women who have taken over that side of the sport in that she did not have any long amateur career. She had 17 amateur bouts, though she was very successful in domestic tournaments and won silver at the European Junior Championships in 2012. But she nearly quit the sport after a couple of losses, but turned pro instead, and has done extremely well for herself. She won the WBC title from veteran Eva Wahlstrom in Feb. 2020, which was just Harper’s 10th pro bout. Her defenses have seen her escape with a controversial draw against former Olympian Tasha Jonas, and then pretty well dominate against Katharina Thanderz late last year.
The biggest concern for Harper’s career at the moment may be her right hand, which was broken in her win over Thanderz and has seen her miss a year of ring time. Hand injuries are an obvious worry for any fighter, and we’ve seen them ruin or at least severely hamper fighters’ careers many times.
Baumgardner (10-1, 6 KO) is a 27-year-old American who has only had one really notable bout as a pro, a 2018 split decision loss to Christina Linardatou in Louisville. Linardatou is a good fighter and a split in an eight-rounder is not a terrible loss, but it can be hard to scout how good women’s fighters are unless you sit down and watch them, really examine how they look in the ring and, in many cases, disregard the opposition. The talent pool just isn’t as deep as men’s boxing and the normal ways you might look at a matchup are just much harder to read in the women’s game.
I say that to say this: Baumgardner should not be counted out here. This matchup reminds me a good bit of Shannon Courtenay vs Jamie Mitchell, where Courtenay had home field in the UK, was the A-side of her fight, was the defending titlist, and Mitchell was an American with very little in terms of relevant fights to her name. But if you looked at the footage of Jamie Mitchell, you could see clearly she knew how to fight, and at her best, was going to be a serious danger to Courtenay. You can see the same if you watch what you can find of Baumgardner; she’s not some half-trained hobbyist, she knows what she’s doing in the ring.
Mitchell did beat Courtenay. Can Baumgardner repeat her countrywoman’s success on foreign soil?
- Chris Billam-Smith (13-1, 10 KO) will defend the European cruiserweight title against Dylan Bregeon (11-1-1, 3 KO), a French fighter who lost a competitive decision in April against Fabio Turchi in Italy. Billam-Smith has turned into a reliably welcome part of any Matchroom card, as he’s a likable sort — his nickname “The Gentleman” seems quite deserved — and always fun to watch. He’s also got his flaws, and
- Unbeaten junior welterweights James Flint (9-0-1, 2 KO) and Dom Hunt (7-0, 1 KO) will meet for the vacant “Central Area” belt in what will also be the first 10-round fight of either of their careers. Being honest, neither the 24-year-old Flint nor 30-year-old Hunt project as any real danger in the division worldwide, but it’s an important fight for both of them.
- Prospects Donte Dixon, Raven Chapman, Stevi Levy, and Khalid Ayub return, plus a pro debut for William Cawley.
DraftKings have Galahad and Harper as favorites to retain their titles, though the odds are very different and reflect the matchups.
Galahad is at -1600 with challenger Martinez a +850 underdog, while Harper is a solid but not terribly overwhelming favorite at -350, with Baumgardner at +270.
- Chris Billam-Smith -2000 vs Dylan Bregeon +1000
- James Flint -150 vs Dom Hunt +125
- Donte Dixon -1400 vs Jordan McCorry +800
How to Watch
Galahad vs Martinez streams live on DAZN at 2 pm ET on Saturday, November 13. Bad Left Hook will have full live coverage.