Boxing

Who'll end up on the floor? Me: No. Him: Yes. Paddy Gallagher determined to win British and Commonwealth titles against Chris Jenkins

Paddy Gallagher salutes the crowd ahead of his British and Commonwealth welterweight title rumble against Chris Jenkins tonight. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker.
Andy Watters

Vacant Commonwealth and British Welterweight titles: Chris Jenkins (21-3-2) v Paddy Gallagher (16-5)

PADDY Gallagher has been Irish boxing’s nearly-man for long enough and tonight he faces a man who has proved that good things do come to those who persevere.

His opponent Chris Jenkins was unable to get over the line in four consecutive title fights (he drew two and lost two) before he eventually made the breakthrough in March by dethroning Johnny Garton to win the British title.

Heavy-handed Gallagher contemplated hanging up his gloves after losing a WBO European title challenge against German Freddie Kewitt in February but instead he hung in there and bounced back with a morale-boosting win over Liam Wells in June.

Now the affable ‘Pat-Man’ wants to make the step up that has so far eluded him.

“I do expect that there’ll be lots of action in the fight but I don’t want to be on the floor,” said Gallagher.

“Him: Yes. Me: No.

“He has some advantages over me and I have some over him. He has a good workrate and he makes the weight easy I would imagine. But my workrate and my fitness has gone through the roof since the Wells fight and my weight is good.

“Skill-wise I don’t think he’s better than me, he’s probably on the same level or below me if we both bring out our best. I am a natural welterweight so I have the power and the strength which he won’t get up to.

“Some people are saying: ‘He doesn’t know what he’s come over for’. He’s saying: ‘I’m gonna do this and I’m gonna do that’ but once he gets six rounds in he’ll be going: ‘What the hell is going on here? This place is mental, this fella is a head-case, he doesn’t stop and he hits like a horse.

“He has balls but I think I have more. That’s the best way to put it.”

Jenkins has fought in Belfast before and was very unlucky not to get the decision when he took on Phil Sutcliffe junior in a barn-burner back in 2016.

“Beating Johnny Garton showed that I’m a good boxer and that moving up in weight isn’t an issue,” said the Welshman.

“I’ve worked too hard for this belt, I don’t want to be giving it away.”

Gallagher has the firepower to win this and Jenkins will know he cannot afford to get caught or it could be lights-out for him. If he has watched Gallagher’s last two fights he’ll believe that if he sticks to boxing and stays out of trouble he will retain his titles.

But ‘Pat-Man’ has home field advantage and says he has learned lessons from previous setbacks. He has to work on staying patient, cutting off the ring and breaking Jenkins down. If he does so, he could force the breakthrough win he has been chasing.

Verdict: Gallagher

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