Kell Brook Undercard: Kid Galahad puts division on notice while Gavin McDonnell moves closer to another world title shot
He has operated largely under the radar but Kid Galahad is being far too noisy to be ignored any longer.
A brutal knockout of a typically resilient opponent on the Kell Brook undercard will hardly have the featherweight world champions queuing up to give him a title shot.
But performances of this ilk will ensure the belt holders will soon have very little choice in the matter.
Galahad felled the awkward Irving Berry with a pair of massive left hands with 30 seconds left of the third round at the FlyDSA Arena.
And afterwards the Sheffield fighter put the featherweight world champions on notice that he is hunting them down.
Trainer Dom Ingle targeted the winner of the upcoming clash for the IBF crown between domestic rivals Lee Selby and Josh Warrington.
But Galahad says he will have a close eye on next week’s clash between Scott Quigg and Oscar Valdez for the WBO title.
Being so awkward, slick, powerful and dangerous is hardly going to earn him a crack in a voluntary defence.But if he continues to bowl over opponents, the opportunity to earn a mandatory challenge should not be far away.
Galahad said: “Berry’s been in there with some top kids. He went 12 rounds with Jhonny Gonzalez and did six or seven with Nicholas Waters. I’ve got him out in three - what does that say about me?
“Kids don’t want any part of me because that’s what I’m capable of. I’m unorthodox.
“I take a couple of rounds to settle in but after that people are going to get hurt.”
The assessment of his performance could hardly have been better as he felt his way into the fight over the opening two rounds against an opponent so awkward he looked off balance much of the time.
Once Galahad found range he began popping in shots with superb accuracy until the conclusion.
Two huge quick fire left hands dropped Berry, who needed oxygen afterwards but appeared to be okay.
n We should have learned by now that Gavin McDonnell should never be counted out.
Last year he impressed in defeat to a genuinely elite fighter when competing for the world title few ever expected he would get in touching distance of.
And on Saturday night be delivered a performance that will have washed away any remaining doubters of his ability to compete at world level.
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The Doncaster fighter’s career was on the line. Defeat to an albeit rated up and comer would have likely proved too big a blow for his world title aspirations for him to recover.
But he met the challenge with a career best performance to convincingly out-point the highly-fancied Gamal Yafai over 12 hard fought rounds. McDonnell was exceptionally disciplined, working behind a strong jab to use his height and reach advantage as the gameplan dictated.
But he also went on the front foot to pile the pressure on an increasingly overwhelmed Yafai.
Once McDonnell found his range after a cagey couple of early rounds, he was dominant. The pressure told on Yafai who grew increasingly fatigued as the fight wore on and it appeared there was a chance of a stoppage for McDonnell. He followed jabs with hooks to the head and body but to Yafai’s credit, he held on.
The judges scoring the bout 117-113 and 116-112 twice in McDonnell’s favour, thought it would not have been surprising to see a wider margin. Another world title opportunity certainly looks to be within reach.
n “I said in the build-up that people would be surprised by my physical strength and I think I’ve proven that.”
Atif Shafiq certainly did that as he brought an earlier than expected end to his Rotherham derby with Lee Appleyard. The towel came in from Appleyard’s corner 33 seconds into the fifth round with their man desperately attempting to protect his right side.
A big left hook to the body from Ingle-trained Shafiq close to the end of the fourth had done the damage, forcing Appleyard to his knees.
And there was a target on the ribs from there on in with Appleyard twice down again.
As he took too much punishment in a bid to protect himself, his corner took the wise decision to end the contest.
Shafiq - who moves to 19-2-0 with the win - showed his class, slipperiness and hand speed in a fine performance after a cagey opening.
And now he is targeting titles at lightweight.
“I think that’s put me right in the mix,” the 24-year-old said. “Appleyard went the distance with Masher Dodd and I’ve just taken him out in good fashion so it’s put me in the mix. “I’m going to take over the division.”
n It was meant to be a night for redemption but it ended in more frustration for David Allen.
He second bite of the cherry against Lenroy Thomas – who beat him for the Commonwealth heavyweight title at Bramall Lane last year – was over inside the first round.
An accidental clash of heads opened up a deep cut on Allen’s brow.
Despite protests from the Doncaster fighter – who had got himself into career best shape for the bout – the ringside doctor deemed him in no position to continue, resulting in a technical draw.
There will be calls to complete the triology with the Jamaican champion but Allen may be best served to move on from this repeated frustration.