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Irish youngster Gallagher continues to catch Hearn's eye as he seals medal

The 20-year-old Tyrone man has emerged as one of the stars of the tournament.

Gallagher is watched on at ringside by Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn.
Gallagher is watched on at ringside by Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn.

JUDE GALLAGHER’S EMERGENCE as one of the boxing stars of this summer’s Commonwealth Games was cemented this evening as he won his 57kg quarter-final and guaranteed a second boxing medal for Northern Ireland in Birmingham.

Professional boxing promoter Eddie Hearn was ringside to watch the Newtownstewart, Co. Tyrone native secure at least bronze with a thrilling unanimous-decision victory over Pakistan’s Ilyaz Hussain, who like Gallagher was competing at his first ever senior international tournament.

Gallagher, 20, first caught Hearn’s eye during his last-16 bout on the BBC when he stopped hometown favourite Niall Farrell inside a round.

The former European and World Youth bronze medallist is trained at club level by five-time Irish senior champion and current professional Eric Donovan, who watched the bout from home and told The42 that Gallagher is “on fire”.

“I’m so happy for him,” Donovan continued. “The hardest working youngster I know.”

Gallagher was forced to think on his quick feet to seal what transpired to be a dominant victory in which he won every round — to varying degrees — on all five judges’ scorecards.

After bossing the opening round with his in-and-out movement and sharp shot selection, he ran into a sticky patch in the second as Hussain, never discouraged, began to time him with neat counters and take control of the round.

Gallagher wasn’t long seizing back momentum, however: after swallowing his share of leather, he bit down on his gumshield and unleashed a three- or four-shot sequence of heavy blows upstairs, a final right hand forcing a standing count of Hussain. Though the game Pakistani fighter protested the referee’s interruption, it was a fair call considering the force of the shots that Gallagher had managed to land in quick succession.

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Screenshot (80) Gallagher was watched at ringside in Birmingham by Eddie Hearn.

The Tyrone man had an unassailable lead heading into the third — 20-15 on one judge’s scorecard — and so he controlled the final verse from his bike, avoiding any damage that might inhibit him in his semi-final.

Gallagher, the successor to former Irish bantamweight stars Kurt Walker and Michael Conlan, will hope to better Walker’s 2018 silver and equal Conlan’s 2014 gold in the same competition.

After that, the phone might ring with carrots dangled beyond or even before his potential Olympic involvement at Paris 2024.

Earlier today, Belfast’s Carly McNaul became a two-time Commonwealth medallist as she booked her place in the 50kg semis while, shortly, Éireann Nugent will aim to secure Team NI’s third boxing medal of the tournament in the women’s 70kg bracket.

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