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Wednesday 13 December 2017

'Pat-man' will bring A-game

Gallagher puts setbacks behind him in hunt for welterweight title

10 June 2017; Paddy Gallagher following his victory over Craig Kelly during their bout at the Boxing in Belfast in the SSE Arena, Belfast. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
10 June 2017; Paddy Gallagher following his victory over Craig Kelly during their bout at the Boxing in Belfast in the SSE Arena, Belfast. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Things were looking good when Paddy Gallagher claimed the BBBofC Celtic welterweight title with a decisive first round stoppage in Cardiff in May last year.

Impressed by Paddy's commitment, Barry McGuigan had Cyclone Promotions add Paddy to the George Groves WBA title fight card in Wembley in November.

"I didn't do my best against Tamuka Mucha," laments Paddy. "It was a setback."

There was some soul-searching following that defeat.

Paddy moved back to his old coach Gerard McManus and, in spring, signed a new management deal with MTK.

"My new set-up is good for my confidence and I'm very happy with my training team," enthuses Paddy.

"I had a comeback fight on Ryan Burnett's title fight at the Odyssey Arena (last month)," he says. "That went really well."

He won by third round knock-out.

Now he's planning to claim the vacant IBO Continental welterweight title in Belfast on Saturday next on the Carl Frampton-Andres Gutierrez bill at the SSE Arena.

"Initially, I wanted to get two comeback fights," he reveals. "But this was too big an opportunity to turn down. So I went off the back of one camp into another. Back in at the deep end.

"Things have been going great in training," he enthuses. "I've been getting great sparring. I'm boxing smarter and timing when to unleash the pressure."

Gallagher (11-3, 7 KOs) has talent. A Commonwealth Games gold medal winner, he's mixed it competitively with plenty of top-flight fighters including Matt Korobov, Sergi Derevianchenko and Ray Moylette.

He beat British super-middleweight champion Callum Smith in the Commonwealth Games final.

His next opponent is the Switzerland-based Brazilian Ricardo Silva (14-1, 5 KOs).

"He boxed for the Swiss Army," says 'The Pat-Man'. "And he can take a shot. He looks to be a tough, awkward customer."

"I only discovered during the week that Silva is a southpaw," says Paddy. "So we've had a couple of great southpaws in sparring so I could try out a few things. I doubt if he'll have anything I haven't encountered before because I'm very experienced. And I've fought world champions in the past.

"I'll see how he shapes up and I can adjust on the night," he adds.

Life as a professional boxer can difficult if your manager isn't in a position to set up fights at the right time. Inactivity can be should destroying.

Like many boxers, Gallagher (28) has experienced the frustration of having promised fights fall through. In his five years as a pro he's switched managers twice.

"You've got to play the hand your dealt," he says. "In my case, so far so good."

"Good management keep you busy," he says. "If you can get fights on big shows that have TV coverage then you're sorted."

Moving up the rankings, Paddy's ready for big nights.

"I want to pick up this nice belt on Saturday and move on," he says. "I'm ready to bring my 'A Game' next week and build on the success I've been having."

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