Originally posted on The Queensbury Rules  |  Last updated 2/19/12
ROTHERAM, ENGLAND – There were more moves on show in South Yorkshire on Saturday than at a 1970’s roller disco. Sheffield rookie Kid Galahad, in at the deep end for the first time against Nottingham warhorse Jason Booth, survived a flash 1st round knockdown -- the first points he’d dropped as a professional -- before waltzing off with a unanimous decision win thanks to a boxing masterclass worthy of the Wincobank name. It was entertaining fare from first bell to last with the pair pitting their wits against one another in fast paced celebration of cunning, craft and guile.

Galahad had been in control of the opening round after boxing neatly and firing off quick bursts of body punches. As he backed Booth up into a corner -- like a cat rounding on a wasp -- “2 Smooth” clipped him hard on the side of his head with a sweet counter left that span the 21-year-old favourite around 90 degrees and forced him to touch down with both hands. The Naseem Hamed comparisons had never looked spookier.

As a hush descended over the Magna Centre, Galahad calmly went back to work in round 2; his boxing beautiful at times. He’d thread home neat jabs followed by straight one-twos and then generate streams of body punches behind those that arrived like a cavalry charge. Booth gave chase with his herky-jerky, crab-like stance, riding Galahad’s attacks before swinging for the fences with fizzing counter hooks.

The Nottingham man’s face was a mask of determination and defiance as Galahad, his eyes saucer-like with concentration, followed him around, pecking, poking and flurrying at will. A straight right dipped the visitor’s knees in the 4th and as Galahad (121 lb.) crawled all over him on the ropes, one wondered whether Booth (120 ¾ lbs.) would be swept aside and off into retirement. Game, though, as he ever was, he kidded his way out of trouble and then rallied to score with jolting hooks in rounds 5 and 6 which were, nevertheless, eclipsed by his opponent’s more rhythmic boxing.

Galahad, roared on by his adoring support, dominated rounds 7 and 8, after which Booth’s expression changed. The relentless bombardment he was being subjected to painted a sickened grimace across his mug. Things worsened in the 9th as Galahad buzzed him upstairs and then tortured him down, flipping his attacks deftly and with genuine intelligence.

Booth remained a constant danger with his counter hooks (which he slung regularly and with passion). Unfortunately for him, they were his only truly effective weapons, whereas Galahad had an abundance of them. A rip-snorting left uppercut bundled Booth back into the ropes in the penultimate frame where Galahad followed-up with a two-handed volley of hooks which almost took Booth out of the fight. Teetering close to the edge, Booth refused to let go and he grabbed onto Galahad desperately before fiddling through to the bell.

Galahad swarmed over Booth in the last. The veteran stumbled to the canvas at one point and then receiving a ticking off from ringsider Brendan Ingle for standing on Galahad’s feet (the duo had been playing footsy all night). Booth finished the bout with a reddened and bruised left eye and was given the short end of the judges’ scores which read 120-109, 118-111 and 118-110.

Afterwards Booth spoke fondly of Galahad, admitting that he was a very good fighter, one to keep track of and that actually, he reminded him of a younger version of himself. Galahad, sitting beside him on the ring apron, could not keep himself from grinning. He’d negotiated the championship distance with ease, in highly impressive fashion and against a respected pro like Booth to boot. One could hardly blame him.

Belfast’s Carl Frampton and Bury’s Scott Quigg have been cited as Britain’s best hopes of attaining world honours at junior featherweight but, after this performance, can they still be viewed as our only ones? The answer is no. There is another.

Chris Eubank Jr. almost made the idea of fighting someone with an arm tied behind one’s back a reality after outpointing the game but overmatched Jason Ball 58-56 (through six) at middleweight. Eubank (162 ¼ lbs.) flashed a sturdy left jab and a horrific looking left body shot in the early going. It wasn’t until a couple of rounds has passed that it became evident his right was out of commission, hurt, he claimed, in training.

Despite his obvious skill and power, Eubank tired in round 5 and Ball (163 lbs.) came on some to close the gap, bravely it must be said after some of the shots he’d absorbed. It wasn’t impressive and he stole home in the end but in a strange way, those uncomfortable moments will have benefited him far more than a quick blow-out might. Senior looked pleased in any case.
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