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Paddy Gallagher eyeing World Champions ahead of rankings opportunity

By Ciaran O’Malley

Paddy Gallagher [15(9)-4(0)] will attempt to enter the world rankings of one of the major organisations for the first time this month and the Belfast welter admits he would be more than willing to jump in with one of the division’s champions afterwards.

Gallagher tops the bill at the renowned York Hall on Saturday February 22nd where he will face-off against the Liberian-born, German-raised, London-based Freddy Kiwitt [14(8)-2(0)], with the pair fighting it out for the vacant WBO European welterweight title.

The West Belfast man had an active end to 2018 with two victories in the tail end of the year, picking up the BUI Celtic light middleweight weight title in the process with a stoppage over Jay Byrne in October.

The hard-hitting Gallagher believes that this title shot, which should provide a Top 15 ranking with the WBO, is a step in the right direction and one he feels confident about.

“This is a good step up for me in terms of the title itself, but I’ve been ready for a while now so I’m very confident” said Gallagher

A victory on the night would see Gallagher catapulted amongst the top names in the welterweight division and ‘The Pat-Man’ is both eager and excited at the proposition of challenging one of the 147lbs champions.

“Victory here will get me a significant step closer to the world title fight I want and for that, I’ll fight anyone. The winner of [WBO title fight] Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan is there and so is [WBA champ] Keith Thurman” stated the Commonwealth Games gold medallist.

Although Gallagher will be the hot favourite entering the contest, live underdog Kiwitt will be no walk in the park.

‘Pretty Boy’ has a decent KO ratio and has previously held the BBBofC Southern Area welterweight title.

The 28-year-old African, who has made York Hall his second home having fought five of his previous six fights here and has only tasted defeat twice in the paid-ranks, both occasions coming out on the wrong end of a points decision.

Gallagher is not getting carried away with the opportunities which may lay ahead, he is fully focused at the task at hand and is aware of the threat Kwitt brings to the fight.

The 29-year-old noted how “we’ll have to wait and see, obviously, because my mind is fully focused on Freddy Kiwitt at this stage and who knows, when I win, there might be some significant names calling for a fight with me. Onwards I go!”

Support won’t be an issue on the night either, assured the ever-popular Gallagher who said that “I’ve got a good squad going over to England and I know they’ll make a lot of noise.”

“I’m not sure how many Freddy will bring but I know he’s been fighting there regularly so I imagine the atmosphere will be buzzing on the night”.


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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