'I told Eddie he's not signing him': Jude Gallagher medal bid rolls on

Jude Gallagher produced a punch-perfect performance to see off Pakistan's Ilyas Hussain in last night's featherweight quarter-final. Picture by PA
Neil Loughran in Birmingham

JUDE Gallagher’s reputation is growing each time he steps between the ropes in Birmingham – though Team NI performance lead John Conlan has jokingly warned professional promoter Eddie Hearn off any imminent approaches to the Tyrone tornado.

Matchroom supremo Hearn was ringside at the NEC Arena for last night’s Commonwealth Games boxing, days after tweeting about Gallagher’s first round stoppage win over England’s Niall Farrell on Monday night.

The 20-year-old caught the eye again with a controlled, composed performance in victory over Pakistan’s Ilyas Hussain, securing at least bronze and moving Gallagher into a semi-final showdown with Canada’s tricky Keoma-Ali Al-Ahmadieh on Saturday.

“I told Eddie he’s not signing him,” smiled Conlan, with Gallagher adding: “The Olympic Games, that’s the big one.”

But it is no surprise Gallagher has demanded such high-level attention after three eye-catching performances brought him into the last four, the Newtownstewart man emerging as one of the undoubted stars of the boxing competition in Birmingham thus far.

Unlike on Monday night, when two standing counts eventually signalled an early end to his clash with Farrell, Gallagher picked off Hussain on the back foot, using the jab to head and body to impressive effect.

He showed his power again when a big right gave his opponent a standing count in the second, and Gallagher admits he is loving every second of his first Commonwealth Games experience.

“I feel very strong, but I’m not here to come out and try to knock people out - I’m out here to box, to show off my skills because that’s what I’m best at. If I have to have a go sometimes, then I will, but my boxing skills are my best attribute.

“It’s been a busy tournament, the Commonwealth Games gets massive coverage, it’s a lot bigger than I thought. The whole set-up, everything about it, has actually taken my breath away a bit - it’s been first class.

“This has been an unreal experience so far, and it’s not over yet.”