The Belfast welter was outpointed over ten competitive rounds at the Wembley Arena by Tamuka Mucha in a back-and-forth battle which was edged, via majority decision by the cleaner and more voluminous work of Mucha.
A definite Fight of the Year contender, Gallagher and his counterpart certainly lived up to expectations in the Spike-aired bout.
BBBoC Celtic champion Gallagher began much the stronger in a lively opener, and had Mucha buzzed in the final minute of the round.
A closer second saw the Zimbabwean stat to land with more success with perhaps the more eye-catching combinations, but when the pair went toe-to-toe it was Gallagher who was landing with more venom.
The Pat Man had his opponent clinging on for a period in the third. Mucha still did have some success, although Gallagher seemed capable of handling his power.
A scrappy fourth saw Mucha land with the cleaner work, with the Irishman looking slightly ragged, and this would continue into the fifth.
Mucha stayed on top in the sixth, a round which saw a nasty cut open on Gallagher’s forehead following a head-clash. The Lenadoon man remained dangerous and had a modicum of success toward the end of the stanza.
A hard-to-call seventh round gave some signs that Mucha may have been tiring, although the London-based fighter probably still shaded the frame – and the eighth would follow a similar pattern.
The ninth, another razor-close round, will be a contender for Round of the Year at year’s end, with the two fighters going going forehead-to-forehead for the entirety of a phone booth round.
Gallagher, at this stage exhausted, poured forward in the tenth, starting the round strongly before Mucha returned fire to close out the round as the brave Ulsterman held on.
The bout went to the scorecards and, like the Cummings fight earlier in the night, the judges were split, with one calling it a 95-95 draw, while the other two scoring officials overruled him with 97:94 verdicts for Mucha.
The disappointing loss sees Gallagher drop to 10(6)-3(0), while Mucha improves to 16(4)-0 and moves one step close to a British title fight.