Exclusive by Kevin Byrne (@KevByrneBox)
Manchester-based coach Joe Gallagher is planning to make inroads into Irish boxing as its newest promoter.
But he only wants to do so out west.
Gallagher visited Castlebar last weekend to take in Ray Moylette’s clash with Christian Uruzquieta, partly to cheer on the Mayo lightweight, partly to scout the local scene out west.
And the Ring Magazine 2015 Trainer of the Year was blown away by the vociferous support that showed up in numbers at the Royal Theatre and backed the Mayo man all the way, urging him off the canvas on two occasions during the fifth round before the home fighter ultimately lost out on points.
Having watched the bout alongside Moylette sparring partner Anthony Crolla, who he guided to the WBA lightweight title in 2015, Gallagher told this reporter that he hoped a successful venture into Ireland would see him gain some recognition in his parents’ home country.
Gallagher, who was granted a civic reception in Sligo after being honoured by the so-called Bible of Boxing, said: “I’ve had my [British] promoter’s licence over a year now. I want to do shows in Manchester and I want to come over here, Sligo and Mayo, just concentrate on the west side.
“There’s good kids around here, like the kid who made his debut tonight [Sligo welterweight Aaron Gethins]. I could bring a couple of my fighters over like Sam Hyde, and it’s something I really want to do next year.
“I might get a bit of recognition in Ireland then. We can’t get fuck all! They’re quick to claim everyone else. Tyson Fury was born in Wythenshawe Hospital and we don’t get none of it over here. So, we’ll see.
“I’ve two Irish parents, my family still live here, everything else, but no recognition. But that’s what I’ve come over to do, we came over to see Ray but it’s been in the pipeline for a while.
“There’s an appetite for boxing here. I mean, everyone likes their boxing here, Sligo and here (Mayo), we don’t want to go to Dublin, we just want to stay on the west side, that’s all I really want to do.”
As for the fight itself, shown live in Ireland on TG4, Gallagher, who immediately headed back to England to commentate on Kell Brook’s bout for DAZN, couldn’t quibble with the verdict.
“It was a great fight. Listen, what an atmosphere. Ray got off to a decent start. There was a body shot, a head shot and another shot that dropped him and it took him a round or two to get back into it,” he added.
“He came back well but the Mexican didn’t let up, he kept coming, and it would have been unfair for him not to have got the decision.
“I thought it was a fair decision and if Ray had gone to Mexico and performed like that, I think he’d be upset if he didn’t get it. So fair play to the kid.
“But what a crowd, what an atmosphere. Ray will regroup and I think a rematch can do good business.”
Gallagher’s entry to the Irish market would increase competition in a scene that’s hotting up nicely between the likes of Assassin, Boxing Ireland and MHD Promotions, without mentioning the big-name Brits who occasionally grace us with their presence.