Following the cancellation of Wood vs. Lara, a grudge match between Hughes and Galahad takes centre stage in Nottingham

Wood-Lara postponement is a blow, but two 50/50 matchups remain, writes Declan Taylor

DESPITE the postponement of the scheduled main event, Matchroom have decided to go ahead with their latest show at Nottingham Arena, with Kid Galahad and Maxi Hughes now taking center stage.

This was supposed to be another big night for the leading light in town, Leigh Wood, who was set for a highly anticipated showdown with Mexican Mauricio Lara at the top of the card.

But when Wood strained a bicep in a bout earlier this month, he was forced to pull out of the fight, leaving the entire show in the balance. However, the promoter, Eddie Hearn, decided not to cancel the whole thing and gave the rest of the fighters on the card a chance to steal the show on DAZN.

The new main event involves the return of Galahad, back for his first outing in 10 months, in an intriguing lightweight matchup with Hughes. Galahad hasn’t been seen since he was knocked out by Kiko Martinez in the sixth round of their November clash, and he will face Hughes two divisions heavier than that night.

The Sheffield man had missed the weight by just over a pound the first time he asked in that fight and he knew his featherweight days were over. But rather than risk his arm at 130 pounds, Galahad jumped straight to lightweight for this one. Meanwhile, Hughes enjoyed career form during the Covid era, notching up five big wins since the first shutout in 2020. The last of those came in March, when he outpointed Ryan Walsh by 12+ at First Direct Arena. , Leeds. There’s no question who has the better momentum here.

This Yorkshire derby, between Rossington’s Hughes and Sheffield’s Galahad, looks like a range fight waiting to happen, but it depends on how well the latter can handle a bigger and stronger opponent than he’s used to. Hughes is much more experienced at weight and will rely on using his size to wear Galahad down.

The 32-year-old also believes that Galahad may have some emotional scars as a result of his latest outing. “He’s going to say he doesn’t have demons, but that kind of knockout will bring demons,” Hughes said. “He’s going to have demons regarding his chin, can he take a chance? Has that taken a toll on his confidence? We’ll see tonight.”

Given his Ingle Gym upbringing, Galahad is highly adept at handling southpaws and beat Jazza Dickens a year ago in her last fight against a southpaw. Meanwhile, his cunning and clumsy style will likely make it hard for Hughes to catch him. But, having said that, Martinez did.

There are enough intangibles that this choice is far from easy. How will Galahad handle a lightweight? How much of a difference will Hughes’ boost make? Will Kid ever be the same after that loss to Martinez? Whatever the answers, this seems even and close to 50/50. Hughes on a close decision is the pistol pick to head.

Hannah Rankin and Terri Harper (Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing)

Another boxer making her debut in a new division on Saturday night is Terri Harper, who faces Hannah Rankin in her super welterweight debut. The 25-year-old is still reeling after her loss to Alycia Baumgardner at super featherweight on the same card Galahad was knocked out by Martinez in November. She came back in March, at lightweight, she beat Yamila Abellaneda by 10+ and is back up on Saturday night.

In contrast, Rankin has spent much of his career mixing it all the way up to middleweight. In fact, during 2020, there would have been 30 pounds between the two of them. But as is common in women’s boxing, they have done their fair share of moving. Again, it makes this a tough fight to pick.

Rankin has faced, but lost, both Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall, so she’s mixed at the highest level. But if she and Harper were the same dimensions, you’d like Harper to outdo the Glaswegian.

Harper has been working tirelessly with performance coach Danny Wilson and this fight, against the biggest opponent of his career, will be the litmus test of that process. With three stoppages in 12 outings, Rankin is not a standout puncher, so Harper will back up to get through the 10-round distance unscathed. If he does, he wins on points here.

Beneath those two fights are six undefeated Matchroom Boxing prospects hoping to continue their so far serene progress. this go the distance looks slim. Dacres’ last two outings were eight-round points wins over Kevin Nicolas Espindola and Kamil Sokolowski, so he has no problem lasting long if needed. The question mark, however, hangs over Akinlade.

The London bus driver is a former Southern Area heavyweight champion, but he has only boxed once in the last five years: a four-round points win over Phil Williams in February 2020. Before that, he had lost three times in a row during 2017, the last of which was a first-round knockout at the hands of Martin Bakole. That fight was a long time ago, Bakole moved to 8-0 that night. He is now 18-1.

So how can Akinlade be expected to hang with a fit and sack Dacres? It doesn’t seem likely. A stoppage seems likely for the 28-year-old. Elsewhere, Dacres’s former Great Britain teammate Cheavon Clarke will try to go 3-0 against Marcos Nicolas Karalitzky, the 7-5-2 Argentine who has never been stopped.

Cyrus Pattinson (4-0), Rhiannon Dixon (5-0) and Nico Leivars (2-0-1) are also in action, while Rotherham left-hander Junaid Bostan, who is 2-0 since joining turned pro in March, has his first fight. since he signed a promotional deal with Matchroom earlier this month.

Verdict: Shame on Wood-Lara, but there is still intrigue in Nottingham.

Scroll to Top