Home [advantage] at last – Gallagher backs Belfast crowd to big part in big fight

When Paddy Gallagher said he wanted home advantage for one of his ‘big’ fights he couldn’t have dreamed it would be this big.

In knocking back a late request to fight Michael McKinson in Brentwood last month, ‘The Pat Man’ lamented the fact he had never had the chance to compete in a big fight in his home town- and gave that as well as the late notice as the reason he turned it down.

Gallagher [16(10)-5] won and defended his BBBofC Celtic titles on the road beating Tony Dixon and Gary Murray in Wales and Scotland respectively. His Commonwealth title eliminator with Tamuka Mucha played out in Wembley, he had a big fight with Brad Solomon in America and was hard done by and fought Freddy Kiwitt for the WBO European ranking title in York Hall.

The experience gave the Belfast fighter a dose of travel sickness and he expressed a desire for some home comforts when he next stepped up in a high profile and meaningful fight.

Gallagher gets his wish and then some come August 3. Not only does he challenge for Chris Jenkins [21(8)3-2] for the British and Commonwealth welterweight titles in his home city he gets the chance to do so on the massive bill at Féile an Phobail. 

The 30-year-old, who is unbeaten as a pro in Ireland, could potentially fight in front of 10,000 plus fans on the undercard of Michael Conlan’s return to the fighting capital of Ireland.

The location of the ESPN+ and BT Sports broadcast bout isn’t lost on the jovial character and  he believes home support may play a part in a bout that is a good bet to be Fight of the Night.

“I’m over the moon to be on this card and of course the magnitude of the fight it unreal. It is a top drawer event and with all the locals there it will be class and will give me the edge sub-consciously,” said Gallagher.

“It’s brilliant to finally get a big fight here as I’ve always had to travel for them, and it’s been great to have this fight straight off the back of the last camp and the last fight too.

“Everything has gone well and it’s meant we’ve got a head start in camp as we can work on more important things than fitness and weight.”

While there will be a sizable crowd in attendance Gallagher is also keen to impress the TV audience. Winning the titles in impressive fashion live on the box will open the doors to big fights claims the Gerard McManus trained fighter.

“There will be millions watching it all over the world on BT Sport and ESPN+ so that’s great for the exposure and lead me to a bigger fight hopefully.”

Gallagher vs. Jenkins is part of a massive card at Falls Park, that is main evented by Michael Conlan facing the toughest test of his career so far when he takes on Diego Alberto Ruiz.

A huge bill also includes Luke Keeler vs. Luis Arias, Alfredo Meli vs. Araik Marutjan, Padraig McCrory vs. Steve Collins Jr for the BUI Celtic super-middleweight title, Sean McComb vs. Renald Garrido, Olympic hero Paddy Barnes, Dennis McCann, Callum Bradley, Seanie Duffy and Dee Sullivan.

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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: [email protected]