Saturday 16 December 2017

Kid's out to clean up against Booth

Kid Galahad (aka Abdul Barry Awad), who fights Jason Booth tonight for the WBC International Super Bantamweight title (live on Channel 5), is a protege of Dublin's most enduring boxing export, Brendan Ingle.

With his brothers in prison and some of his mates dead, the 21-year-old Sheffield man acknowledges how Ingle saved his life when he began training him when he was an out-of-control 14-year-old.

"I'd no goals in life so getting into trouble was just something to do," says Awad.

One of the many curious training techniques employed by Ingle was to have Kid walk the local streets picking up litter.

With a record of 10 unbeaten, Kid Galahad meets a vastly more experienced opponent in Booth (36-8) who points out that Galahad has yet to box beyond six rounds.

"He's an elusive boxer but I'm confident I can outwit him," says Booth.

But who'd bet against Ingle delivering yet another world champion? Kid Galahad is not lacking in self-confidence.

"I think I can do what Naz (Ingle's champion Prince Naseem Hamed) couldn't do and win titles in three weight divisions," he added.

O'Kane comes of age

In 2003, the year before he represented Ireland at the Athens Olympics, Andy Lee (17) was beaten in the National Senior middleweight final by Dungiven man Eamonn O'Kane. Today, boxing out of the Kronk Gym in Detroit, Lee (27-1) is in line for a world title bout.

On St Patrick's night, Eamonn O'Kane, who won amateur gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, will have the fourth professional fight of his career. Unbeaten in three, he's stopped his opponent in two bouts.

On the undercard of the Kell Brook v Matthew Hatton fight, O'Kane is hoping for a win over Sheffield scrapper Wayne Reed (8-3) to celebrate his 30th birthday the following day.

After his convincing eighth round (80-73) win over Joe Rea in the Odyssey in September, O'Kane told me: "Joe took some good shots and he kept coming. I let him hit me to see what he was made of. I like to get hit with a few shots because it makes me feel like I'm in a fight. I enjoyed it. I like to give the fans what they come for and that's fighting. I'm ready for big fights."

O'Kane has an extensive repertoire. In Belfast, he caught Rea with a controversial "double-punch" but claimed, "I wasn't trying to be funny. It's something we'd do in the gym in the amateurs and it just happened tonight as a reaction."

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