The Newry fighter has stepped up from middleweight to light heavyweight, switched from St Monica’s to Holy Family Drogheda, and is back enjoying boxing again.
The rangey southpaw, 2016 Elite Senior runner up, missed out on the 2017 Seniors and the chance to go to European and World Championships so is now focused fully on the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Indeed, missing out on this year’s batch of tournaments may have been for the better as during this time Wallace has made a necessary move up in weight
The 21 year old has a spring back in his step and explained to Irish-Boxing.com how “I was doing middleweight for three or four years and it was a massive struggle coming towards the end, it was affecting my performance.”
“I was taking the goodness out of myself, I was leaving all the good work in the gym. Moving up to the bigger weight I feel more comfortable and I can box a lot better.”
The 81 kilo class is a much better fit for the towering former Conor McGregor sparring partner, and he noted that “I’m developing into it nicely. I always would have sat about 80kg anyway. I feel a lot more comfortable, a lot more stronger, and I’m enjoying my boxing a lot better.”
“I’m punching a lot harder and people have been saying that to me, boys I’ve been sparring.”
“I feel a lot fitter, [at middleweight] I was wrecked after a round a half. Now that I’m not killing myself making the weight I feel a lot more comfortable.”
Since returning from the hand injury that kept him out of the Seniors this year, which were won by Dubliner Emmet Brennan, Wallace has been busy in the gym and sparred with Steve Collins Jr ahead of his Irish title fight last month.
All the training is with a view to the Ulster Senior Championships, which look set to act as a qualifier/selection process for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next year. The problem is though, a date has yet to been set for the famous provincial competition.
Wallace outlined how “the date’s not confirmed yet but I’m looking towards September, October and training, keeping fit, keeping in shape. I’ll be staying ready and when they call the championships I’ll be ready to go.”
There were no Ulster boxers in the recent Seniors, and 2016 Intermediate runner-up and 2014 Ulster champion Ryan Donnelly of 2Castles is perhaps the most notable name in the division. Wallace isn’t getting ahead of himself however and reasoned how “it’s wide open, there’ll be a lot of people that will enter because it’s a Commonwealth year and you can’t take anyone for granted, but I’ll be ready and I want to book my place on the plane to the Gold Coast.”
Away from Ulster, Ireland’s top light heavyweight, Joe Ward, was recently given a vote of confidence by new High Performance Director Bernard Dunne. Quashing rumours that he was to turn pro, the Moate boxer has been singled out as the man to captain and lead Ireland into the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Where this leaves Wallace is unknown, and the young fighter admits that his days in the vest may be numbered.
“It’s hard to know,” admits Wallace.
“I want to keep my options open and see. I’m not saying no to the professional game and I’m not saying I’m definitely going professional.”
“But the main goal is the Commonwealth Games and hopefully I get a gold medal over there and God knows where I’ll go.”