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Paddy out to make family as proud as punch

By David Kelly

Published 17/11/2016

Home comforts: Paddy Gallagher at home in west Belfast with partner Rachel, daughter Amber (5) and son Ronan (3)
Home comforts: Paddy Gallagher at home in west Belfast with partner Rachel, daughter Amber (5) and son Ronan (3)
Paddy Gallagher (left) in action against Tomas Bartunek

Money and titles are the natural ambitions of every professional fighter but more than that Paddy Gallagher just wants to have made his family proud by the time it comes to hang up his gloves.

Tomorrow night he has the most important fight of his professional career so far when stepping up for a British welterweight title eliminator against unbeaten Tamuka Mucha at Wembley Arena on the supporting bill to George Groves, a show which also features Coalisland's Conrad Cummings in an IBF inter-continental championship fight.

The Belfast man sparked his career into life in May when he spectacularly knocked out Tony Dixon to land the Celtic welterweight title and that came on the back of another stoppage victory.

Now, backed by Barry McGuigan's Cyclone Promotions outfit, Gallagher is determined to march on to major title opportunities in 2017, with victory over Mucha a crucial step in the right direction.

Once again partner Rachel will be at ringside to cheer on the 27-year-old, who has been through periods of injury and inactivity during the early stages of his career in particular and, while some after four years as a professional are financially strong enough to focus solely on boxing, Gallagher still has to work at his personal training business.

"For most of us guys coming through you have to have a job to make ends meet. It makes me laugh when guys say to me 'you must be loaded, you're a pro boxer'," said Gallagher, who fights to provide for five-year-old daughter Amber and three-year-old son Ronan.

"It takes time to get into the big money and to do that you need to be in a title fight.

"You just have to bide your time and wait for the chance of a major title to get a good pay-day. I won the Commonwealth Games gold medal as an amateur and I'd love to win a Commonwealth professional title … if I can win this fight then within 12 months hopefully that chance could come.

"I want to have a good career, get a few quid and get out with good health - maybe headline a couple of shows - but the most important thing for me is to be a father that my kids can be proud of," he said.

"When they grow up they'll know their dad was a pro boxer and I hope they can look back and be proud and I have to say that my partner Rachel has been a great support - 'Lucky Rachel' as I call her because she met me!

"They are a big inspiration to me. Rachel really steps up when I have to focus on my training for a fight entirely and don't have time to work at the personal training. She works full-time as well as taking care of the kids to give me the chance to prepare properly for my fights. That means a lot, we're a good team - except when I'm having to make weight and she sits in front of me drinking tea and eating biscuits."

Gallagher, had to step up with his own parental duties when he was out of the ring for 12 months due to a hand injury - and admits he was more keen than ever to return to training.

"In my second fight I broke my hand so that was a big blow. It was very frustrating but it meant I was able to look after Amber. But changing the nappies and looking after her was harder than the boxing!" added Gallagher, who expects a tough night against Mucha.

"This is a big chance for me to make a statement. This guy is a smart operator, a good boxer who likes to take control of the ring.

"One thing is certain, he'll not be finishing me but I could finish him."

Belfast Telegraph

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