Josh Warrington claimed that British boxing was willing him to silence Kid Galahad and said the determination not to be “beaten by a drug cheat” would motivate him to retain his IBF title.
Warrington turned up the heat on Galahad by saying the Sheffield fighter should “never lace the gloves on again” having been banned for a positive drugs test in 2015.
Galahad, who will challenge for Warrington’s world featherweight crown at the First Direct Arena in Leeds on June 15, served an 18-month suspension from the sport after a banned steroid was found in his system.
The 29-year-old has always maintained his innocence, saying his drink was spiked by his brother following an argument over money, but UK Anti Doping’s strict liability policy saw him hit with a ban.
Galahad, whose real name is Barry Awad, has climbed the nine-stone rankings since completing his suspension and was installed as mandatory challenger to Warrington’s belt after beating American Toka Kahn Clary on points in October.
The IBF’s insistence on Warrington facing Galahad stopped Warrington from travelling to America for a unification bout but the Leeds boxer said Galahad’s doping record would be on his mind when the the pair meet this summer.
“He shouldn’t be in boxing but it’s a business as well as a sport and he’s been given a second chance,” Warrington said. “In my opinion he should never lace on the gloves again.
“I’ve won over quite a few fans in the last 12 months but most of the nation wants me to beat him up because of how he conducts himself after being a drug cheat. I’m not not buying the story about his brother spiking him.
“Without it getting really nasty, you do want to iron people like him out of the sport. You don’t want drug cheats parading around as a champion and that’ll be on my mind in camp. I cannot be beaten by a drug cheat.”
Warrington and Galahad faced each other for the first time in Leeds yesterday, at a feisty press conference which was dominated by talk of Galahad’s doping ban.
Galahad promised to be “100 per cent clean” when he and Warrington clash but Warrington said: “One hundred per cent it could happen again.
“He’s done it once and he knows that this is the biggest fight of his career. The closer you get to the fight, doubts will start creeping in and he might start wondering how he can pinch an inch. I hope he stays clean and we get the fight.”
Galahad insisted he would not apologise for his positive test, saying again that he had taken the substance unknowingly, and dismissed Warrington’s claim that he should be banned for life.
“Everyone’s entitled to their opinion,” he said. “If you fail a drugs test you should get banned. I believe the exact same thing. In terms of my situation, I’ve done my time and I’m back and I’m in this situation now.”
Asked if he should show remorse, Galahad said: “Show remorse for what? It’s not like I took the substance. It is what it is.”
Warrington’s defence of the IBF title will be his second, coming on the back of two dramatic and career-defining victories over Lee Selby and Carl Frampton last year. The all-Yorkshire fight is Galahad’s first shot at a world belt.
Warrington belittled Galahad’s reputation and confident attitude, saying: “We’ve known him for years, I beat him twice as an amateur and used him for sparring. He was never this character.
“If he’s trying to use a different persona it’s not working because his fanbase is tiny, no f***** knows who he is and he’s only getting exposure because he is fighting me.”