Paddy Gallagher handed career-changing opportunity in Evander Holyfield’s WBC tournament


Paddy Gallagher [13(8)-3(0)] has gone from second replacement to participant in the ‘Jose Sulaiman World Invitational Tournament’ in the space of three days – and has been handed a real chance to change his career in the process.

‘The Pat Man’ was voted in as the second reserve for the eight-man tournament and was due to box the first alternate, Francisco Santana [26(12)-6(1)-1], on Friday April 27th at the KFC YUM! Centre in Louisville, Kentucky. The winner of that bout was meant to act as the first reserve for the semis and final of the competition.

Following the withdrawal of one of the eight competitors, popular California puncher Santana was upgraded to the main tournament earlier this week meaning the Belfast fighter was moved to  #1 reserve, and pencilled in to face Russian Sergiy Lubkovich [7(6)-0] in just under three weeks time.

However, Gallagher has followed the route of Santana after Radzhab Butaev, many peoples’ second-favourite to win the tournament, pulled out with a shoulder injury.

The former Prizefighter contestant and BBBofC Celtic champion will now battle it our with Brad Solomon  [27(9)-1(0)] of Douglasville, Georgia, in the quarterfinals of the potentially career-changing contest in the hometown of the legendary Muhammad Ali.

Victory in the quarter-final of the World Boxing Super Series-styled contest will earn the 29-year-old $22,500 and a place in a Summer semi-final. The Lenadoon man is guaranteed $15,000 from the night.

Solomon comes into the clash with a solid record, his career highlight being a split-decision win over Adrian Granados on the Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao undercard.

The Lousiana fighter’s only reverse came in an NABF title fight when he suffered a split-decision defeat to now Russian middleweight champion Konstantin Ponomarev.

gall wbcHowever, Gallagher will look into the fact the 34-year-old hasn’t fought since this defeat almost two years ago.

Speaking about Butaev’s withdrawal, his promoter Lou DiBella said,

“Radzhab Butaev was very much looking forward to competing in the ‘Jose Sulaiman World Invitational Tournament’ but unfortunately he suffered a shoulder injury in training that will require treatment and possibly surgery.He’ll be out of the ring for some period and hopes to be back as quickly as possible.”

“It’s unfortunate that Butaev injured his shoulder in training however Paddy Gallagher was training to fight Francisco Santana as alternates on April 27 and he’s very excited now to be fighting in the first round of the tournament against Brad Solomon,” said Evander Holyfield.

The quarter-final match-ups in the WBC-backed Evander Holyfield-promoted competition are:

Felix Diaz [19(9)-2(1)] v Francisco Santana [26(12)-6(1)-1]
Chris van Heerden [25(12)-2(1)-1] v Timo Schwarzkopf [18(10)-1(0)]
Frederick Lawson [26(21)-1(1)] v Baishanbo Nasiwula [13(6)-1(0)-1]
Paddy Gallagher [13(8)-3(0)] v Brad Solomon [27(9)-1(0)]

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