PADDY Gallagher hopes to fight for the British welterweight title on the undercard of Carl Frampton’s IBF featherweight title showdown with Josh Warrington in Manchester on December 22.
No-one can say that Gallagher, who returns to the ring against Jay Byrne in an eight-round BUI Celtic Welterweight title rumble at the Titanic Exhibition Centre on October 5, isn’t deserving of a crack at the British belt because he’s had to deal with more than his fair share of bad luck over the past couple of years.
He was due to feature on the ill-fated Frampton-Gutierrez bill that was scrapped last summer and then, on June 30, the affable Belfast welter was injured as he prepared for his eagerly-awaited clash with fellow British title hopeful Gary Corcoran.
Ten days before the fight, Gallagher was in his final sparring session against Rogan Bates when the Dubliner landed an uppercut flush on his chin. Straight away Gallagher knew his jaw had been broken.
“It was a cracking shot, he threw a big right uppercut and I dropped down into it with my mouth open,” he recalled.
“That was it, it snapped there and then and I knew right away. I said to him: ‘I think you broke my jaw’ because I heard a crack.
“Obviously I didn’t want it to be broken and I was moving it from side to side and back and forward and I was saying ‘I think this is ok’ but I started to feel it when I got to the Ulster Hospital that night.
“When I swallowed or spat I got a big shooting pain – probably the worst pain I’ve ever had. That night was absolutely horrible, I was oh-so close to tears because the pain was unbelievable.
“The next day I got the operation and it wasn’t as bad.”
Derry’s Tyrone McCullough takes on Josh Kennedy in a WBO European title fight to headline the show on October 5 and Marc McCullough (IBO Inter-Continental) and Gary Cully (BUI lightweight) are also boxing for belts on the card.
“I’ve had 17 fights (13-4) and I’ve only fought for one title,” said Gallagher.
“I won the Celtic title and defended it once and that’s about it, so it’s good to be fighting for a different title.
“It’s good to get back because I was on a run there with MTK, they were getting me fight after fight and then missing the Corcoran fight was a big let-down.
“I was hoping to get back and get at least one fight before the end of the year and I told the MTK boys that when I saw them at the Frampton-Jackson weigh-in. They said they didn’t expect me to be back in time but they would see what they could do.
“I was thinking ‘Right, that’s me, I’ll probably not fight for the rest of the year.’ Then I got offered the Jay Byrne fight and I said ‘Not a problem’, because it’s the perfect fight for me.
“It’s not some journeyman, it’s a decent fight and he’s local. It’s not a top range hard fight but it’s not an easy fight because he’s recognised, he’s been about and it’s for a title.”
If he comes through Dubliner Byrne (7-5), Gallagher is confident he will get his long-awaited British title shot (possibly for the Commonwealth belt too if Josh Kelly vacates it) against the winner of the all-London battle between Johnny Garton and Gary Corcoran. He’d like it to be against Corcoran on the Frampton-Warrington undercard.
“I expect to fight for the British title next,” said ‘Pat man’.
“I’m sitting at number seven in the rankings now and there are only two people ahead of me that want to fight for the British title – Johnny Garton and Gary Corcoran – and they’re fighting for it on the 21st of October in London.
“I expect to fight the winner of that and it’ll be good if it’s Corcoran because of what happened the last time. I think he should beat Garton and it would be even better if it was on the Frampton undercard.
“There was a wee bit of needle developing between us in June and I’d love to slap the head off him on the Frampton undercard three days before Christmas. That would be enjoyable.”
Boxing Monthly British Welterweight rankings
1 Josh Kelly (Sunderland) 7-0 Commonwealth champion
2 Bradley Skeete (Penge) 27-2 British champion
3 Johnny Garton (Peckham) 22-1-1
4 Gary Corcoran (Wembley) 18-2
5 Larry Ekundayo (Stoke Newington) 14-1
6 Paddy Gallagher (Belfast) 13-4
7 Tyrone Nurse (Huddersfield) 35-4-2
8 Johnny Coyle (Stanford-Le-Hope) 19-0-1
9 Michael McKinson (Belfast) 14-0
10 Darren Tetley (Bradford) 16-0
KILDARE lightweight Gary Cully says he is ready to step onto the European scene.
The 6’2” Naas fighter is looking to move to 7-0 on MTK Global’s show in Belfast on October 5 – a card that includes Cully’s gym-mate Sean Turner taking on David Price plus Declan Geraghty v Marco McCullough and a host of other big names.
While Cully admits frustration at the lack of rivals willing to meet him in the ring, he’s enthusiastic over the prospect of advertising his skills live on BoxNation for the first time.
Cully said: “I’m delighted to be on this show. Some of MTK Global’s best Irish fighters are on it. Belfast is becoming a second home to me because I’ve had all my professional fights up there.
“Belfast has become one of the biggest boxing cities in Europe. Carl Frampton has built some massive momentum there as everyone can see from the recent Windsor Park show. It’s a huge city for boxing.
“We wanted to fight for the Celtic or Irish title and offered it to six different fighters. None of them wanted it but at least I’m fighting live on TV and stepping up to six rounds.
“Every lightweight in Ireland is running scared of me. We offered it to super-featherweights, lightweights and super-lightweights and everybody turned it down. It looks like I’ll have to skip Irish level and fight for a European title.
“I don’t blame them. I’m tall and I hit like a middleweight so if I was them then I’d probably turn down this fight too. Their managers are doing a good job because they know what would happen.”