Boxing

Commonwealth battle for Paddy Gallagher but Tommy McCarthy disappointed after title fight postponed

Paddy Gallagher (left) and Liam Wells ahead of their fight at the Ulster Hall in June 2019. Picture by Mark Marlow.
Anthony Gunning

Welsh fighter Chris Jenkins is relishing the prospect of a surprise Commonwealth title challenge next month... but he will have to do it the hard way.

For the Welsh welterweight will have to overcome rock-solid Belfast fighter Paddy Gallagher in his own backyard.

It was confirmed yesterday that the Commonwealth clash has been scheduled to take place on the eagerly-awaited Féile an Phobail boxing bill, headlined by Michael Conlan, at the Falls Park in west Belfast on Saturday August 3.

Gallagher, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist in Delhi in 2010 as an amateur, has chalked up 16 wins, 5 losses in his professional career.

He has recorded one loss, one win in his two fights this year, the last outing a third-round stoppage at the Ulster Hall in June against the previously undefeated Essex welter Liam Wells.

Gallagher is not underestimating the challenge he faces against 'Rok'n'Rolla' Jenkins, whose record reads: 21 wins, 2 draws, 3 losses.

“Jenkins is a good fighter and he’s coming off the back of a smashing win. I’ve met him once and he’s crazy so I’m sure the press conference will entertain as well as the fight," 'Pat-Man' Gallagher told Belfast Live.

“The last fight did me so many favours – it was a good opponent, a good performance and a good win. It earned me this shot so that speaks volumes.

“The coverage of this fight will be unreal with both BT Sport and ESPN+ linking up. Féile is always a massive thing but this year, with the boxing show included and me being in a big fight, it’ll be even better than usual.”

Jenkins says he knows only too well the danger that Gallagher will present.

“I know Gallagher is a Commonwealth gold medallist who beat Callum Smith and he has also beaten another Welshman I know in Tony Dixon, '' he said.

“He is coming off a good little win against Liam Wells so I know he is a strong fighter and a good fighter.”

Meanwhile Tommy McCarthy was left bitterly disappointed yesterday as his challenge for the WBC International cruiserweight title in Rome tomorrow night was postponed.

The west Belfast man had been due to face Fabio Turchi at the Stadio Nicola Pietrangelo, but a bicep injury picked up by the Italian meant McCarthy was greeted with the news as soon as he stepped off the plane on Monday evening.

All is not lost however, as the 28 year-old remains on the Sky Sports-televised bill and will instead face local brawler, Francesco Cataldo over eight rounds with the Turchi showdown now expected to take place in Autumn.

However, it has still been a bitter pill to swallow so late in the day with his dreams of blasting his way into the world rankings now put on hold.

“It was very disappointing to get this news last night at the airport,” he said.

“I don’t think people understand how much this has messed things up. I’ve had to take the time off work (for training) and then it was hard to find southpaws for sparring at cruiserweight so I had to pay to go to England to get sparring.

“It was late notice for this fight anyway because I think he (Turchi) was looking to catch me on the hop, but I was already training.

“I did everything I could given the short space of time to get ready for this. I was very confident coming over for this fight, but then to come over and get the bad news was a kick in the nuts.”

Having lost out in a WBA Inter-Continental fight against Richard Riakporhe back in March, McCarthy returned with a routine win over Jiri Svacina in May before being handed his opportunity to take on Turchi.

The postponement is far from ideal, but will ensure he has a full camp to prepare so long as he gets past Cataldo tomorrow night.

“Thank God and thanks to Eddie Hearn for getting me this eight-rounder now,” he added.

“Every cloud has a silver lining so I’m very grateful to Eddie and my manager, Mark (Dunlop). The show must go on.”

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