‘THERE’S NO GUAR­AN­TEES’

Joe Gallagher speaks to John Den­nen about the pun­ish­ing losses, the Smiths and the World Box­ing Su­per Se­ries

Boxing News - - Q & A -

RAINER Joe Gallagher be­gan an­other busy run T with Cal­lum Smith on Satur­day, and will have Natasha Jonas, Paul But­ler, An­thony Crolla and many more in ac­tion over the com­ing weeks. How tough has it been for you per­son­ally in re­cent months, with An­thony Crolla los­ing, Scott Quigg going to Fred­die Roach and so on?

I went through a sim­i­lar pe­riod a few years back when Matthew Mack­lin lost to Felix Sturm, which I thought was a good win, John Mur­ray lost to Kevin Mitchell, Stephen [Smith] lost to [Lee] Selby. I was think­ing I can’t buy a win here in the big fights. But I just think things are sent to test you. You can sit down, you can get de­pressed, you can mull it over. But it’s what you do with that. It’s how you come back from that. I think over the last 12 months the [Hosea] Bur­ton loss hit me the most. I think that hurt me. A minute to go, and hav­ing seen how much joy it brought to his fam­ily when he won that belt against [Miles] Shinkwin, to be so close and just be in­ex­pe­ri­enced and lose... I’ve known him since age 11.

But look at the fights we were in­volved in. Liam Smith-canelo, Scott Quigg-carl Framp­ton. An­thony Crolla fought Jorge Linares for the WBA, WBC Di­a­mond and Ring mag­a­zine belt. How many fighters in Bri­tain get the chance to do that not once but twice? Liam Smith then came back and had a fan­tas­tic win over Liam Wil­liams.

[Marcus Morrison] is in the gym with one of the kids he can take the big­gest in­spi­ra­tion from from early set­backs and that’s An­thony Crolla. The set­backs he had early in his ca­reer didn’t stop him be­com­ing world cham­pion. There’s too much made of ‘0’s th­ese days.

Stephen Smith had two hard fights against [ Jose] Pe­draza and Ja­son Sosa, which was a fan­tas­tic fight. There’s an­other can­di­date for one of the fights of the year.

Would you say Liam Smith was flat, or didn’t wake up, in the first half of the Wil­liams fight?

Liam is own worst critic. We knew Liam Wil­liams would be up for it. He’d be sharp, the adrenalin is going, ev­ery­thing else. Liam Wil­liams is very good on his feet mov­ing with the jab. Liam Smith is very good at cut­ting the ring down. We weren’t going to over com­mit with shots we knew we’d be open to coun­ters for, which Liam Wil­liams is very good at.

Liam Smith knows sooner or later Liam Wil­liams is com­ing off them toes. Liam Wil­liams isn’t the best at up close in­side fight­ing. Once he came off his toes and it came into Liam Smith’s fight, Liam Wil­liams couldn’t han­dle that. [Wil­liams was with­drawn af­ter sus­tain­ing a bad cut.]

A fight isn’t won in the first few rounds, this is where it’s won, the cham­pi­onship rounds and Liam had him where he wanted. He was hit­ting him with body shots, bring­ing them down, hurt­ing him. It was just a mat­ter of time.

Are you dis­ap­pointed Cal­lum Smith wasn’t fight­ing for the WBC ti­tle?

When [An­thony] Dir­rell pulled out they should have turned round and gone you’ve got to make it Smith-[erik] Skoglund. They should have re­ally put the belt in the tour­na­ment.

It’s just a shame re­ally. That belt should have been in it. But it’s the Di­a­mond belt, no one from Bri­tain’s ever won the Di­a­mond belt.

Who do you think will be next?

I fancy [Rob] Brant to do [ Juer­gen] Braehmer... He’s a good fighter. He’s in house all the time with Er­rol Spence, the Char­los. He’s got good in-house spar­ring, he’s am­bi­tious. When you watch his early fights he’s a bit raw, but he’s getting bet­ter and bet­ter.

How do you see the World Box­ing Su­per Se­ries pan­ning out?

I’m con­fi­dent, not very con­fi­dent. Peo­ple have made Cal­lum favourite for this tour­na­ment, which he isn’t. It’s flat­ter­ing, but when you look at the fighters in the tour­na­ment, Ge­orge Groves, Juer­gen Braehmer, they’ve op­er­ated at world level for a long time. They’ve been in the big fights, the big nights, they’ve got the big-fight ex­pe­ri­ence. The other side of it, Ge­orge Groves-jamie Cox, that’s a good fight, but I ex­pect Ge­orge Groves to come through that. The juicy fight in the quar­ter-fi­nals is Chris Eubank vs [Avni] Yildirim. That’s a tough, tough fight. Very sur­prised he picked him. [Yi­lidirim’s] not the big­gest hit­ter, but has a good work ethic.

So I think Eubank-yildirim is a great fight, we’ll know an aw­ful lot about both fighters af­ter that fight. I’m a big ad­mirer of Chris Eubank, I re­ally am. He fought Arthur Abra­ham on a Satur­day, he was in the gym on Mon­day lift­ing weights. I just like his work ethic. There’s a say­ing some­times, skill will get you so far, just hard work, ded­i­ca­tion and be­ing fit will take you that lit­tle bit fur­ther. I think that’s a key thing for Chris Eubank Jnr. I think his vol­ume in punches, his va­ri­ety in his shots.

If he comes through that, Ge­orge Groves-chris Eubank, that’s a great fight. Will it be the chang­ing of the guard? It de­pends what’s left af­ter those fights. We’re hop­ing we have an in­jury-free tour­na­ment with hands and cuts and ev­ery­thing else.

Cal­lum Smith in the fi­nal against Ge­orge Groves or Chris Eubank Jnr – that’s a great fight. But there’s no guar­an­tees.

If you had to pick the fi­nal?

I think the fi­nal could most prob­a­bly be Yildirim and Cal­lum Smith.

‘I THINK THINGS ARE SENT TO TEST YOU. IT’S HOW YOU COME BACK’

PROUD: Gallagher trains and man­ages Cal­lum Smith [right], who has a big op­por­tu­nity in the World Box­ing Su­per Se­ries

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