Donegal boxer Michael ‘Chunk’ Gallagher makes his pro debut in Dublin on Celtic Clash 3 at the National Stadium on Saturday, September 9.
The Kinletter 21-year-old was an elite amateur who boxed out of the famous Finn Valley club, winning 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 Gallagher’s name is one that stands out and has gotten Irish boxing circles talking.
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 but the big puncher has opted for the pro game instead.
Like 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 paid ranks 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.”
“I was a top amateur, but I just wanted to take the next step. I’m looking forward to everything and hopefully we’ll do the business on Celtic Clash 3.”
Trained by Conor Quigley, father of top fighter Jason, Gallagher believes he is suited to the pro game, “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!” said Gallagher adamantly, “the longer rounds will suit me. The amateurs are more and 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 Jason 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 9when 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 my debut on Celtic Clash 3. 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,” added Quigley.
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, Vladimir Belujsky, Liam Gaynor, 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, by calling 086 440 6868 or online at Ticketmaster.ie.Tags: