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Gall over with a bang: Paddy Gallagher would love Benn clash before retirement


Paddy Gallagher

Paddy Gallagher

Conor Benn

Conor Benn

Paddy Gallagher

Paddy Gallagher wants to go out with a real bang after revealing that he is close to hanging up his gloves.

The bubbly Belfast man was left furious last summer when losing controversially to Chris Jenkins in a British and Commonwealth welterweight title fight at Falls Park, and the Welshman has avoided a rematch.

Gallagher's career stalled and just as it was about to kick off again, Covid-19 intervened. With boxing returning next month, Gallagher is expected to box either at the end of July or August, with a clash against Conor Benn a possibility.

A battle with Benn (far right) is one bout he would relish, particularly if there was a title on the line for the 31-year-old, who is now employed as a coach by the Irish Amateur Boxing Association in the Belfast area.

"I would be happy with one big last win and then walk away. I'd love to win the Commonwealth title to make it a Commonwealth double whammy, having won the Commonwealth Games gold. In this business you have to know the right time to go and I'd be happy with one more big night," said Gallagher (below).

"There has been some talk about a fight with Conor Benn, though nothing has been confirmed, but everybody knows it would be a fan-friendly fight and there would be plenty of interest around that one.

"We both don't like taking a step back, so it would be great for TV and the fans.

"I just hope that I can get to Benn before Lewis Crocker does - I know that Lewis would love the fight too. But, if Lewis gets to him first, there will be nothing left for me! Benn has a lot of noise around him because of his dad and he looks the part with his tattoos, but he's really over-hyped.

"We'll see if that one comes off and, make no mistake, if I'm offered it, I'll jump at the chance - I don't want any warm-ups and, anyway, there's no room for that now with only five fights on each show."

Conor Benn

During the lockdown period, Gallagher has dealt with the conflicting emotions of not being able to train while also enjoying spending more time with wife Rachel and their children.

The hard-punching Belfast welterweight has been maintaining his fitness with a mixture of working out on the heavy bag at home, some sprint work at the Mary Peters Track as well as some recent work-outs with strength and conditioning coach Dan Anderson.

"I'm in pretty decent shape, but obviously once things relax a bit more I can raise my game even more. It has been great spending time with the kids and we've also got into doing some mountain walking. I feel like I'm the new Bear Grylls!" quipped Gallagher.

"We've been up Slieve Donard, down in Fermanagh, up Black Mountain and we might give Wicklow a go. A sausage bap and mother nature, you can't beat it.

"Due to the virus, I obviously haven't been able to continue the work I was doing around schools for the IABA, but we have been able to send programmes and some videos and the kids have loved them - we've had some great feedback.

"So, that's been good, but of course I want to be back in the gym sparring and I think that's going to happen soon. Then I can hopefully start to focus on a fight and win the big title I've always wanted."

Belfast Telegraph