Thursday, August 5, 2021

Previewing Matchroom Fight Camp Season 2 Week 2


The second season of Matchroom Boxing’s Fight Camp series kicked off in a big way on July 31st at Matchroom Headquarters in Brentwood, England. As this observer stated in his post-coverage of week 1, the sales hook for this series is relatively simple “No Easy Fights.” Although not originally intended, the first two weeks of this season will be headlined by bouts that could have a potential impact on the near future of the 126lb. Featherweight division. As most know, in week 1, British Featherweight champion Leigh Wood significantly stepped up in caliber of opposition and due to circumstances of COVID-19 saw himself in the main event against WBA mandatory challenger Xu Can. Wood turned in the best performance of his career in out Boxing Can over twelve rounds before dropping him in dramatic fashion in the final round, which led to a stoppage with seconds remaining in the fight.


This indirectly sets the stage for the main event of week 2 of Matchroom Fight Camp 2021 as the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) Featherweight world championship will be at stake when Kid Galahad meets James Dickens in a rematch of a bout in 2013 in a bout scheduled for twelve rounds on Saturday, August 7th. In some ways, this fight has similarities to the Can-Wood bout as Galahad has experience in having previously challenged for a world championship in June 2019 in losing a twelve round split decision to then IBF champion Josh Warrington. Galahad gave a good account of himself in defeat and now finds himself in position to challenge for the IBF championship again, only this time the crown is vacated. In his last fight, Galahad got back to his winning ways by scoring an eighth round stoppage of Claudio Marrero in February of last year.


Even though Galahad has what may amount to a confidence booster and an experience edge in having challenged for a world championship before in coming up short by a narrow margin on the scorecards, as well as knowing he defeated Dickens once before in winning the then vacant British Jr. Featherweight championship in 2013, James Dickens finds himself in a position coming into this fight that is not all that unlike the one Leigh Wood was in prior to his bout against Xu Can. In thirty-three professional bouts, Dickens has a solid record of 30-3, with 11 Knockouts and in fact has more fights than Galahad, who will enter the bout with a record of 27-1, with 16 Knockouts.


Dickens has gone on to win both the IBF and World Boxing Organization’s (WBO) respective versions of the European Featherweight championship in his career since the loss to Galahad and does hold a victory over Leigh Wood in February of last year. Despite this and what Wood was able to accomplish last week in stopping Xu Can, which might put things in a different light depending on one’s perspective, some might say that Dickens is still in the position of stepping up in class of opposition in this fight against Galahad.


In the eyes of this observer, this fight is well-matched and could end up being difficult to score due to the similarities of the two fighters respective styles. Despite what happened the first time these two met in 2013 with Galahad stopping Dickens in ten rounds, it certainly is not hard to envision the ebb and flow potentially shifting multiple times throughout the twelve round world championship bout as this is an encounter between two boxer/punchers. One should keep in mind that nearly eight years have past from the first encounter between these two fighters and both have evolved over time.What has all the appearance of what could be a close tactical battle just might come down to which fighter is able to establish the tempo and how long they are able to sustain it that might determine who will win this fight and become the new IBF Featherweight world champion.


Week 2 of Matchroom Fight Camp will feature two interesting Heavyweight bouts featuring two unbeaten prospects that could be potential opponents down the line if they are able to win in their respective bouts on this card. The first of these bouts will see Fabio Wardley making the first defense of his English Heavyweight championship against Nick Webb in a bout scheduled for twelve rounds.


For those unfamiliar with the regional championships structure on the British level of the sport, the holder of an English championship in a given weight class is usually one step away from challenging for either British or Commonwealth championships before personably setting sights on European championships or world championship opportunities.  Unlike some fighters who have an English championship however, Wardley has already had some success in testing the waters against world level competition as he scored a knockout win against former multi-time world title challenger Eric Molina in March of this year.


In eleven professional bouts, Wardley has scored knockouts in ten of those bouts registering a career knockout percentage of nearly 91%. As both impressive and intimidating as that statistic is and might be for potential opponents preparing to face Wardley, like most fighters who are able to begin their careers with a string of often quick knockouts, the question of who might be able to provide the fighter with a test is inevitably asked. Some including this observer felt that given Eric Molina’s vast experience in being a longtime contender that challenged for versions of the World Heavyweight championship on two occasions might have been the first to give Wardley such a test.


This was simply not the case as he was not able to provide Wardley with much resistance and was gradually broken down before being knocked out in the fifth round. The victory over Molina for Wardley did indicate that he might be contending on the world level of the Heavyweight division sooner rather than later. Before that can be explored however, he will defend his English championship against Nick Webb.


Webb will enter the bout having won seventeen of nineteen professional bouts and does have more total rounds as compared to Wardley’s thirty total rounds boxed, having boxed forty-four total rounds un his career. Although Webb will enter this bout having won his last four bouts and scoring knockouts in two of those bouts, he has been knocked out in his two career defeats and the question/task he will face in this fight is both simple and easier said than done. Will he be able to extend Wardley into the middle and late rounds of this fight and can he avoid Wardley’s power in doing so.


Obviously, yours truly cannot provide the answer, but until a fighter is able to extend Wardley into the deep waters of a fight and/or answer questions regarding how he will respond to being hurt and/or knocked down, the task that Webb has at hand will essentially be the same for future Wardley opponents. 


The second Heavyweight bout that will be featured on this card will feature unbeaten prospect Alen Babic facing once beaten Mark Bennett. A scheduled distance for this bout has not been announced as of this writing, but much like Fabio Wardley, Babic has established a reputation for scoring quick knockouts in stopping all seven of his previous opponents in three rounds or less.  While the questions that surround Fabio Wardley can easily be applied as well to Babic, one might argue that he might not face much resistance in this fight and may even go a step further by saying the yet to be announced scheduled distance of this bout might not matter.


Despite entering this bout with a respectable record of having won seven of his eight career bouts, Mark Bennett has only one career knockout in his career and his one career loss came in his last bout a three round decision loss in December 2019 to the man who will be challenging Fabio Wardley on this same card Nick Webb in the finals of an Ultimate Boxxer Heavyweight tournament.


While bouts held under the Ultimate Boxxer tournament format do not follow the traditional professional Boxing format in terms of round distances, the task Bennett will have here is to avoid Babic’s power. Babic is a come forward fighter that has in previous fights thrown each punch with the intention of ending matters. Although it is certainly logical to think Babic will look to implement a similar approach here as it has not worked against him thus far, it will be interesting to see if Bennett will be able to establish a pace that might answer some questions regarding Babic’s conditioning over the course of a fight if the seek and destroy approach does not work in the early rounds as has been the case in his career to this point.


A card that features a world championship bout as well as two Heavyweight bouts with very similar scenarios going in seems to have the ingredients for the type of card that the Matchroom Fight Camp series has become known for. Exciting action where the fan can expect to be entertained, but also should not rule out seeing unexpected outcomes. We will see what this edition of Matchroom Fight Camp Season 2 has in store on Saturday, August 7th.


“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”


Matchroom Fight Camp: Galahad vs. Dickens II takes place on Saturday, August 7th at Matchroom Headquarters in Brentwood, England. The entire card can be seen globally on digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN beginning at 1PM ET/10AM PT with an hour long Before The Bell preliminary show, which will feature a portion of preliminary bouts before the remainder of the card begins at 2PM ET/11AM PT (U.S, Times.) For more information about DAZN including schedules, list of compatible streaming devices/platforms/Smart TVs, availability around the world, local start times in your area, and to subscribe please visit:


 *Card Subject To Change.


We will have a preview of the third and final week of Matchroom Fight Camp Season 2 here on The Boxing Truth®️ on Thursday, August 12th. Stay tuned.


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