The Next Level – Jude Gallagher aiming for international breakthrough

A bloodied nose and an emptying gas tank both posed no cause for concern for Jude Gallagher who claimed his seventh Irish title on Friday night – and the little man has big plans for 2018.

The Two Castles light flyweight defeated Conor Leneghan from St Paul’s in an entertaining fight at the National Stadium to claim top prize at the Under 18 Open competition.

Gallagher was certainly made to work hard for his win, and the Newtownstewart youngster began fast before boxing smart to hold off the growing momentum of his Belfast opponent.

The Tyrone teen was not overly pleased with his display but views the unanimous decision win as a good start to an important year – which is his first in the U18 class.

Gallagher told “not really [happy with the performance], I’m not as fit as I was. I’m happy with the first round.”

“I had a very good first round. I knew it was all in the first round, it’s important to get a good first round. The last two, I started slowing down a bit, but that happens.”

“It was tough, he kept coming forward, but I knew I had to make him miss and pick my shots more, which I did.”

With yet another Irish title secured, Gallagher is keen to kick on and has his sights set on the European Youth Championships in Italy this April.

The Ulster fighter came up just short at the European Juniors last September and is determined to go at least one better this time round.

Gallagher recalled how “I went to the European Juniors last year, fought the English kid who was European Schoolboys champion and beat him 5-0, fought Azerbaijan and beat Azerbaijan, then I fought Georgia for the bronze and I thought I won it but I didn’t get it.”

“I’m dying to get my first international medal. I’ve racked up a fair few of these [Irish titles] – it’s still a very good feeling to win one, but I’d love an international medal, the next level.”

“I’ll enter them and we’ll see what happens, I’ll keep training away.”


Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: