The training never stops in the famous Ingle Gym in Wincobank, Sheffield.
Champion after champion has come from the lined and circled conveyor-belt floor and Kid Galahad is now hoping to get into the incredible 135lbs mixing pot with the sport’s biggest names.
First, the former IBF featherweight champion needs to take care of Maxi Hughes, his cross-county rival.
Hughes has impressed, winning six fights in a row and he’s riding high on confidence.
But Galahad’s trainer, Dominic Ingle, is not certain that Hughes would rather be somewhere else, boxing someone else, instead of facing Galahad in Nottingham on Saturday.
Both Jorge Linares and Ryan Garcia had been mentioned as possible opponents, now Hughes is stuck with the awkward switch-hitting Galahad.
“Most fighters are the same, they’re always setting their sights on other things,” said Ingle. “Maxi might have had it in his mind that he was going to have a bigger fight against Ryan Garcia and realistically, I don’t care what anyone says, if you think you’re going to get a payday, even if you think you’re going to get beat, you think you’ve worked hard to get to a level. There’s no way he’s going to think he’s going to beat Ryan Garcia, because he’s not, but now he's got to go in with Barry, he’s an English fighter, his [Hughes’s] mindset will have had to change a bit. He'll be making less money and it’s still a big risk, so he’s had to come down a little bit. That’s the mentality of it.”
But Ingle has seen Hughes come through his most recent tests impressively, against the likes of Ryan Walsh, Jovanni Straffon and Paul Hyland.
“He’s got good confidence at the minute because he’s had a couple of decent wins, but they were talking about him fighting Linares, who Barry sparred in America in 2014, and Barry sparred Maxi years and years ago and Maxi’s improved but mainly through his confidence and getting the wins that he’s got,” Ingle went on. “I think Barry has it in his mind that no matter what, with a British level fighter, even getting beat like he did [by Kiko Martinez], he’s going to beat anyone domestically.”
Galahad has jumped two weight classes, even though he has fought at lightweight before. The idea is for him to get in the mix with the glamour names of the division.
“When he was first going to move up [from featherweight to super-featherweight], four pounds was never going to be enough,” Ingle said. “We bypassed that [super-feather] because he had actually fought at 135 a few times earlier on in his career. He’s used to that weight, it’s just less of a weight cut. He’ll probably be getting into the ring a couple of pounds heavier than when he’s at featherweight, but then he would have been fuelled all the way through camp and that makes a lot of difference, especially on fight week when they’re killing themselves and not having any carbs. He’s been able to eat well and only been on a mild restriction to be on the weight.”
After Galahad beat Jazza Dickens for the vacant IBF title in August 2021, it seemed like a new start. But he lost in his first defence to a wonder punch from Spanish veteran Kiko Martinez.
“He's had a lot of setbacks and even when he won the world title it was a bit of an anti-climax because he’d had the setback against [Josh] Warrington, which was the biggest one,” Ingle explained. “That’s when he really needed to win the title, have a couple of fights and move up. And when he boxed Jazza Dickens the ideal timing would have been to give up that title and move up, but you’ve got no bargaining power [when you relinquish a title]. Even when he was the champion, he didn’t really have any bargaining power because I don’t think Eddie saw him as an attractive proposition. As much as we wanted to do something else and move up, really, we had to take the fights at featherweight.”
But now, fresher, heavier and more experienced, Galahad gets the ambitious Hughes on the crest of a Cinderella wave. Hughes has never been more confident, and he’s never been better.
“It was only after a series of events with Maxi Hughes winning the title and doing what he did that it’s become an interesting enough fight, and when Barry wins this fight, it opens up a little bit more for him,” ingle added, saying Galahad won’t be taking victory for granted.
This week, Kell Brook has also been filmed back in training in the Ingle gym, and Ingle confirmed that there is promoter interest in Brook facing the winner of the upcoming bout between Chris Eubank Jr and Conor Benn and also of facing Liverpool star Liam Smith.
“There is talk of him fighting again but we’ll just have to wait and see,” Ingle stated. “He might just be getting bored.”
Would Ingle work with him again, having said the victory over Amir Khan was the perfect way for Brook to bow out?
“There’s no incentive for me really for him to fight again, because we had a great night that night [against Khan] and that’s the end of the chapter,” Ingle concluded. “Even now, they’re talking about this fight… depending on what the conditions are and how he’s training, it might not be attractive to me and if I don’t see anything there and they’re making weight stipulations or circumstances… the circumstances and propositions will dictate whether I want to work with him or not. It won’t make a difference to him because he will do what he wants to do anyway, but it’s just whether or not I want to be involved in it.”