With 2017 being absolutely filled with news of new Irish fighters turning pro, it takes a really noticeable name making the switch to stand out.
That is exactly the case with Donegal’s Michael Gallagher who was confirmed to be turning pro with Boxing Ireland Promotions last week.
The Finn Valley cruiser was a decorated amateur, winning eleven underage Irish titles, European Schoolboys bronze, and most notably a Youth Olympic bronze in 2014.
Then however, there was nothing. A big name that amateur boxing anoraks were anticipating seeing in the Elite Seniors never entered and word on the street was that Gallagher had ‘packed it in.’
Funding was said to be the issue and, in his first interview as a pro boxer, Gallagher confirmed to Irish-Boxing.com that this was part of the reason he has decided to go pro at the relatively young age of 21.
The Kinletter farmer explained that “after I won the medal [Youth Olympic bronze], I came back and was promised a bit of money, but I never got it.”
“I had to work for my money. Travelling too, the expense of travelling [to Dublin]. It was hard.”
“I was always training, ticking over, and now we’ve decided that the pros is the way to go. It’s a better route.”
“It’s just better. I was amateur, I was a great amateur, but I just wanted to take the next step. I’m looking forward to everything and hopefully we’ll do the business.”
Managed by Leonard Gunning’s Boxing Ireland Promotions and trained by Conor Quigley, father of top fighter Jason, Gallagher believes he is suited to the pro game.
The youngster outlined how “my coach Conor always directed me on the right path, and he was the man who said to me at the start that pro was a better choice. Me and him sat down and he said it would suit me, and if he said it, I’m saying it!”
“The longer rounds, they’ll suit me. The amateurs, they’re more like the pros now anyway.”
Describing his style, Gallagher noted how “there’s a bit of power there, and speed as well, but there’s a lot more to come over the next four or five years. I’m going to take my time and take even every training session as it comes.”
“My style, it would be a wee bit more technical, based on speed and timing. I wouldn’t be a slugger, I’ll be moving a lot.”
“I just box, that’s why it’s called boxing, I try to stick to my boxing and not do anything out of the ordinary or show off.”
The highly thought of fighter is nicknamed ‘Chunk,’ and he laughs at how “it was my second or third fight, on a club show, and the boy I was boxing’s coach came into the dressing room afterwards and said ‘Jesus, that’s some chunk of a lad.’ It’s kind of stuck since then!”
Gallagher will debut at the National Stadium in Dublin on Saturday September 9th as part of the Celtic Clash 3 bill. The Ulsterman is already raring to go and stated that “I’ve started training now and I’ll keep training until the 9th, every day.”
“I’ll get myself in tip-top shape then go in and just perform.”
“It’s a bit more exciting having things coming up. I’ve one fight now to concentrate on, my training will be for that fight.”
It should be noted once again that Gallagher is still only 21 years old, and currently there is no real defined roadmap in place. Instead Quigley explains that future plans will be coloured by how he copes with the debut.
“September 9th will tell us a lot,” said Quigley.
“We’ll be able to tell you a wee bit more after September 9th. At the minute we’re just finding our fight on the ground. We’re so lucky and so humbled to be in this position, for this young fella to achieve his dreams.”
“Michael was an outstanding amateur, I’ve said it from Day One. We went into his first National Championships and I was sitting in the corner with my eyes opened as wide as they could go. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”