Josh Warrington and his camp hit out at Kid Galahad’s tactics and claimed the Sheffield fighter should have been disqualified for persistent holding in their IBF title clash.
Warrington retained his featherweight belt for a second time last night but edged a split decision at the First Direct Arena in Leeds after being drawn into an ugly battle with Galahad.
Galahad was warned twice for spoiling tactics by referee Phil Edwards having sought to negate Warrington’s trademark onslaughts by grappling with him repeatedly.
Warrington’s father and trainer, Sean O’Hagan, apologised to a crowd of more than 10,000, saying he “felt sorry for the people out there who’ve paid to watch that”, and criticised Edwards and judge Howard Foster who scored the fight in Galahad’s favour.
Galahad took a 115-114 decision from Foster but two other judges, Steve Gray and Michael Alexander, returned scores of 116-112 and 116-113 respectively in favour of Warrington.
Warrington said: “The frustration was kicking in when the ref had a clear view of what he’s doing. We’re not saying you have to come and trade but when it turns into a scruffy fight like that, it’s not boxing.
“I said prior to this that you’ve got to come into a champion’s back yard and take the title off the champion. To come in and hold as much as you can, you aren’t going to take the title like that. But we did the business and we move on.”
An unhappy O’Hagan said: “There’s working inside and there’s turning it into WWF wrestling. He was there to spoil and I feel sorry for the people out there who’ve paid to watch that.
“I’m going to be honest and I don’t care if I upset them - the judge that gave it his (Galahad’s) way was absolutely appalling and shouldn’t be judging. Someone comes to spoil and you give them the win. Ridiculous.
“Any other referee, I think he’d have been disqualified because it was absolutely diabolical. We can all see it, everyone out there can see it but the referee can’t see it. All that considered, it came down to who really wanted it most in those last two or three rounds. I just apologise to everyone who had to sit and watch that.”
Galahad, though, refused to apologise for his tactics, saying: “You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.
“At the end of the day Josh won. Hopefully he’ll unify the title now and go onto bigger and better things.”
Warrington served up two fights of the year in 2018 with thrilling wins over Lee Selby and Carl Frampton but was unable to subject Galahad to the same punishing treatment.
His 29th career win, however, should clear the way for a unification fight in the USA amid suggestions that negotiations are set to begin with WBO holder Oscar Valdez.
“There were high expectations after the last two performances but they’re not all going to be fight of the year,” Warrington said. “I didn’t want to sell it as a scrappy fight but I knew it was going to be like that.”