Paddy Gallagher [13(8)-3] believes he will take step one along the raod to the WBC world welterweight title tonight.
Some might scoff at a fighter whose biggest victory has come in a BBBofC Celtic title fight talking about a title that was this week vacated by boxing star Keith Thurman, but ‘The Pat Man’ claims the WBC Invitational Tournament gives him a clear path way to the strap.
‘Pat Man’ will can take the first step along that pathway with victory over Brad Solomon in the quarter-finals of the competition at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky on tonight.
The popular Belfast fighter was intially voted in as second replacement, for the career changing tournament but two withdrawls in three days saw him upgrade to participant.
The former Prizefighter contestant and BBBofC Celtic champion is now hours away now from a bout with 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 – and despite coming in the back door is adamant he isn’t there to just make up the numbers.
“I am not here to make up the numbers,” the 29-year-old welterweight told Belfast Live.
“I am here to do some damage and then we move onto the next. But I am not looking past this fella. He will be very dangerous.
“I am going to beat him. That’s just it. I will take care of business and then I will have a full 10 weeks to take care of the next one. Camp has gone well. It was tough but I have put in the work.
“Last year went well for me but this year will be even bigger. This is a big opportunity, and it is unique. This is something completely different but it’s something I like.”
The 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medal winner is aware some Stateside might not know who he is and others who suggest he isn’t worthy of the tournament.
However, is claims he will put his name on everyone’s lips with a performance that proves he is on his way to world level.
“When you look at the people competing in it, they are all world class fighters. It is a privilege to be here. I am 13-3 and had a couple of decent wins, but nothing worldwide compared to the other fighters in this. So you have to ask ‘why me?’.
“But I will prove why I deserve to be here on Friday.”
Victory over Solomon, whose career highlight is a split-decision win over Adrian Granados on the Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao undercard, will earn Gallagher $22,500 and a place in a Summer semi-final.
However, he has aspirations beyond tonight and the quarters. Gallagher wants to win a tournament that includes some impressive names with the likes of former Olympic champion Felix Diaz and Chris van Heerden in the line up.
Gallagher even went as far as to suggest he was targeting a fight with Keith Thurman, who held the belt up and until Wednesday of this week.
“Thurman for a world title,” he added.