The Newry middleweight won the Irish Intermediate title, was runner-up in his first attempt at the Seniors, and spent two months in Las Vegas during the Summer as a sparring partner for UFC superstar Conor McGregor.
Now Wallace is set to enter his first major senior international tournament for Ireland. The Ulster slickster, along with Céire Smith, Gary McKenna, Christina Desmond, and Kenny Okungbowa will head to Thailand this weekend for the World University Championships in Chang Mai.
The 20 year old isn’t just heading to South East Asia for the experience either, he is going for gold
“I have gained a lot of experience training with the Irish elite high performance team over the last 10 months and I will be aiming for the gold medal,” Wallace told Irish-Boxing.com.
The rangey southpaw has had fairly unique preparations for the championships, sparring McGregor as well as a host of other mixed martial artists. Wallace is grateful for his time in Sin City and feels that “just the whole experience of Vegas in general helped me – but I got a lot of great rounds sparring with all different sizes, styles, and quality opponents.”
The decision to become a student-athlete can be an intimidating one for some, but Wallace described how he has received ample support from both the IABA and the University of Ulster at Jordanstown.
The 2nd year Sport and Exercise Science student explained that “it is quite hard, but with technology nowadays work can be easily submitted online.”
“The college are very understanding if I am missing class due to boxing, likewise the IABA are the same – if I have an exam they have no problem giving me time off training.”
Wallace believes that more boxers should take this path, and outlined how “I think it should be encouraged from a young age, as you can’t box all your life, and not everyone makes it in boxing.”
“You need something to fall back on. When athletes are in full time training I think the IABA should combine with some of the colleges to offer the boxers some sort of course to allow them to get a degree.”