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Michael ‘Chunk’ Gallagher set for pro debut

A new star in Donegal pro boxing will make his arrival to the scene next month.

Top amateur Michael Gallagher makes his pro debut in Dublin at the National Stadium on September 9th as he looks to begin a journey that many commentators believe will see him rise to the very top.

The Kinletter 21 year old was an elite amateur. Boxing out of the famous Finn Valley club, Gallagher won eleven underage Irish titles, European Schoolboys bronze, and most impressively a Youth Olympic bronze in 2014.

Some time away from the sport followed this before Gallagher put pen to paper on a deal with Leonard Gunning’s Boxing Ireland Promotions earlier in the Summer.

2017 has been an out of the ordinary year with over 30 Irish fighters turning pro, but the name of Gallagher is one that especially stands out and has gotten Irish boxing circles talking. While McGregor is attracting interest across kinds of boxing betting such as MMA betting, many are tipping the Donegal fighter to be Ireland’s next boxing star.

The cruiserweight is seen as one of the top prospects on the island. Indeed, many felt in the wake of his Youth Olympic medal that Gallagher had the ability to rule at the Elite Senior Championships and go on to win major medals at big tournaments for Ireland.

However, like it is for many top fighters coming through, funding was a major issue and proved to be one of the deciding factors in Gallagher’s move into the big bad world of professional boxing at a relatively tender age.

Gallagher explained that “after I won the medal [Youth Olympic bronze], I came back and was promised a bit of money, but I never got it.”

“I had to work for my money. Travelling too, the expense of travelling [to Dublin]. It was hard.”

“I was always training, ticking over, and now we’ve decided that the pros is the way to go. It’s a better route.”

“It’s just better. I was amateur, I was a great amateur, but I just wanted to take the next step. I’m looking forward to everything and hopefully we’ll do the business.”

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Trained by Conor Quigley, father of top fighter Jason, Gallagher believes he is suited to the pro game.

Gallagher outlined how “my coach Conor always directed me on the right path, and he was the man who said to me at the start that pro was a better choice. Me and him sat down and he said it would suit me, and if he said it, I’m saying it!”

“The longer rounds, they’ll suit me. The amateurs, they’re more like the pros now anyway.”

Describing his high-quality style, Gallagher noted how “there’s a bit of power there, and speed as well, but there’s a lot more to come over the next four or five years. I’m going to take my time and take even every training session as it comes.”

“My style, it would be a wee bit more technical, based on speed and timing. I wouldn’t be a slugger, I’ll be moving a lot.”

“I just box, that’s why it’s called boxing, I try to stick to my boxing and not do anything out of the ordinary or show off.”

While he may still be only a baby in boxing terms, Gallagher cuts an imposing figure. Well over six foot and clocking in at around 14 stone, he could do a job at full forward – but boxing is the sport for Gallagher.

A beast of a boy, the highly thought of fighter is nicknamed ‘Chunk,’ and he laughs at how “it was my second or third fight, on a club show, and the boy I was boxing’s coach came into the dressing room afterwards and said ‘Jesus, that’s some chunk of a lad.’ It’s kind of stuck since then!”

With North American Boxing Federation middleweight champion Quigley making waves in America, Rosses light welter Shaun McShane working on the Scottish circuit, and Buncrana’s John Hutchinson retiring this month, Gallagher becomes Donegal’s only current Irish-based pro fighter. He hopes to get Ballybofey, the Finn Valley area, and indeed all of Donegal behind him as he embarks on his journey.

This journey begins on September 9th when Gallagher debuts on the biggest card – in terms of number of fights – in Irish boxing history. The show is headlined by another former top amateur, Eric Donovan, who takes on Welsh champ Dai Davies for the BUI Celtic featherweight title – but there will be a lot of interest in the young man from Donegal who features prominently on the undercard

Gallagher raring to go and stated that “I started training in June and I’ll keep training until the 9th, every day.”

“I’ll get myself in tip-top shape then go in and just perform.”

“It’s a bit more exciting having things coming up. I’ve one fight now to concentrate on, my training will be for that fight.”

It should be noted once again that Gallagher is still only 21 years old. While he is a prodigious talent, he will need to be careful guided in the murky pro boxing world. In manager Gunning and coach Quigley though, he has a top team with his best interests at heart. With there being no rush, his coach sees the debut as a chance to test the waters

“September 9th will tell us a lot,” says coach Quigley.

“We’ll be able to tell you a wee bit more after September 9th. At the minute, we’re just finding our fight on the ground. We’re so lucky and so humbled to be in this position, for this young fella to achieve his dreams.”

“Michael was an outstanding amateur, I’ve said it from Day One. We went into his first National Championships and I was sitting in the corner with my eyes opened as wide as they could go. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”

“Michael, he’s proved he has the pedigree, he’s stood toe-to-toe with the best in the world.”

Headlined by the Donovan-Davies title fight, the Celtic Clash 3 card also features Colin O’Donovan, Martin Quinn, Regan Buckley, Carl McDonald, Chris Mullally, Stephen McAfee, Niall O’Connor, James Cahill, Gerard Whitehouse, Bernard Roe, John Joyce, Aiden Metcalfe, Keane McMahon, and Dylan McDonagh.

Tickets cost €30 (Balcony), €40 (Gallery), €60 (Ringside), €100 (VIP Premium), and €15 (Under-15s gallery – must be bought alongside an adult ticket) and are available to buy from the Finn Valley Boxing Club or online at Ticketmaster.ie.


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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