Expect McGuigan to brag if Groves beats Murray says Joe Gallagher

Ring Magazine Trainer of the Year Joe Gallagher is one of the most divisive figures in boxing.

Many fans hate him, but his fighters all swear by him, and his achievements in boxing are huge, from underage right up to World titles.

Indeed it is not just fight fans who are riled by Gallagher, and the Sligo-Mancunian has been involved in a number of spats with rival trainers.

Most notably for Irish fans is his ongoing feud with Shane McGuigan, which flared hugely during the lead up to Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg’s super bantamweight World title unification in February. In the build-up both trainers took numerous swipes at each other, culminating in a physical confrontation at the weigh-in.

McGuigan, the youngest ever chief cornerman to lead a boxer to a World title, was seen to have won the tactical battle that night, and his olive branch afterwards was rejected by Gallagher.

Since the loss in February it has been a successful few months for the 47 year old Gallagher who has seen Scott Cardle defend his British title, Callum Smith claim the European title, and World title defences for Liam Smith and Anthony Crolla, as well as a failed World title tilt for Stephen Smith.

This weekend, David Haye’s walkover against Arnold Gjergjaj aside, sees McGuigan return to the corner for his first major fight since Frampton-Quigg when he leads George Groves into battle against Martin Murray.

Murray is trained by Oliver Harrison, another trainer who shares bad blood with Gallagher, and the bout will serve as chief support for Anthony Joshua’s IBF heavyweight title defence against Dominic Breazeale at the O2 Arena in London and live on Sky Sports PPV.

Ahead of the clash, Gallagher ran the rule over both rival trainers for Sky Sports, and believes that “deep down, it [the fight] will be about bragging rights, especially for Shane and even if we don’t hear much in the build-up, we certainly will if Groves wins.”

“Shane lets everybody know, that’s for sure.”

“He already reminds us all he’s never been beaten in the corner.”

Gallagher also cast doubt on whether George Groves fully trusts his young Irish trainer, asking “will George Groves listen to Shane 100 per cent, all the way through?”

“We’ve seen him fall out with Paddy Fitzpatrick in the Badou Jack fight and it didn’t seem like he was really paying attention to him, doing his own thing.”

“If things aren’t going right, will he keep listening and stick to the gameplan?”

“It is a new relationship with Shane so we will find out.”

When pushed on a prediction, Gallagher sided with Murray, who hails from nearby St Helen’s, reasoning that “I’ve always got on with Martin Murray.”

“I would love to see him fulfil his dream and that means coming through this one.”

“And that is nothing against Groves – or either of the trainers.”

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie