The Newry middleweight claimed top prize at the Intermediate Championships, finished runner-up at the Senior Championships, joined the Irish High Performance Unit, spent two months in Las Vegas sparring with UFC superstar Conor McGregor, and recently represented Ireland at the World University Championships.
While there have been definite highs, the Ulster southpaw has endured his share of bad luck, and is hoping for a change of fortunes over the next twelve months as he seeks to stamp his claim to being Ireland’s #1 middleweight.
In terms of bad luck, the prime example is the World Universities in Thailand where, in his opening bout, he heavily floored Ukrainian Valeri Kharlamov, before pulling out of the fight due to a nasty cut suffered after an accidental headbutt. His Eastern European opponent would then storm to the gold medal in Chiang Mai
Wallace spoke to Irish-Boing.com and described how “I was just very unlucky and it was just very frustrating to be sitting there and watching boys get medals who I know I could beat all day long.”
“He had been in the World Championships, he was the Ukrainian number one, and he went on to win gold he won four fights, so it was very frustrating sitting there watching him get a medal.”
While fortunes transpired to deny him a first major international medal in South East Asia, Wallace is safe in the knowledge that he is an elite fighter and explained how “I always knew, after getting the last year’s experience with the senior team, that I’m always there or thereabouts. I think I can beat anyone, I think I just need a wee break of luck.”
“My luck has to change, I had a bit of bad luck obviously with the Olympics and all, so we’ll see what happens.”
“It’s been a rollercoaster year, I’ve been very active, had a lot of fights, so I took three weeks off there to let my body recover. It’s been a long year, especially with the McGregor thing as well. But now I’m back in the gym, training, and getting myself ready for these Senior Championships.”
The 20 year old aims to stamp his authority on the division next February at the aforementioned National Elite Championships ahead of a busy few years with the eventual goal of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics lingering in the background. Wallace outlined how “all focus on the Seniors now. we’re in general preparation now then we’ll step it up into training camp for the Seniors.”
“It’s Europeans and Worlds next year, so there’s a lot at stake. Obviously the Commonwealth Games will be a great stepping stone too on the Gold Coast. It’s a lot to look forward too, but the main focus now is on the Senior Championships and getting that number one spot.”
With Michael O’Reilly likely to suffer a ban, the Irish middleweight berth will be up for grabs for the next Olympic cycle and Wallace is one of many with his eyes on the spot. He feels that he is the most talented 75kg fighter on the island has the ability to prove it in the coming years, concluding that “Johnny Joyce is up with us in the High Performance too, but on my day I believe I can beat anyone. So if I stay focused, get my gameplan right, I can do the boxing and they can do the worrying.”