Irish Combatants Are Kings Of The Ring

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While although the sporting landscape has been a rather difficult one over the past 18 months or so, there is a sense that the show must always go on and whether it be the cage or the ring, combat sports have still managed to operate as before.

Admittedly both the look and feel of events both here and abroad have been considerably different since the outbreak of COVID-19 last year but the fact that promoters have been able to put on fight cards, is certainly something to be celebrated.

A celebration that comes in the form of sport being such a valuable tool to so many and with many other norms being unafforded to the Irish public during the past 18 months, the desire to watch sporting action has largely increased.

While as before, those who fly the flag for the nation are always backed with vociferous support and when it comes to the men and women who like to throw a punch or two for a living, there is a considerable amount of backing for the likes of Michael Conlon and James Gallagher.

Although their respective fighting environments are different, they both possess an insatiable will to win and when it comes to the Boxing talents of Conlon, defeat is not a word that is found within his lexicon.

That’s because the Belfast born fighter currently possesses a 16-0 professional record and when he takes to the ring, the boxing odds in terms of betting on him to beat his opponent are ones that are often short.

Such has been the prowess of Conlan over the course of his career, that betting on the 29-year-old featherweight, is arguably one of the shrewdest bets you will make – should you be that way inclined.

Then again, even if you are not, there are still plenty of reasons to watch the man who goes by Mick for short and one of those, is the fact that he is in possession of many championship belts at the time of writing.

A collection that has swelled in recent times, as after claiming both the WBA and WBO versions of the Inter-Continental Featherweight Title, he then added WBO International Super Bantamweight Title for good measure.

Although the accolades do not stop there and after getting the better of TJ Doheny at Falls Park, Belfast last month, the unbeaten professional fighter can also call himself the WBA Interim World Featherweight Title holder.

Which means the calibre of fight opponent will only increase in difficulty from here and with a potential WBA unification bout waiting in the winds, Conlan could soon be in the mix for a genuine world championship tilt.

Of course, the title picture is rather murky, as a number of names lay claim to the network of belts that are on offer at this weight class and with their also being a ‘super’ and a world WBA champion at featherweight, the question is who will be next for the two-time Olympian?

Should the current number one contender go down the WBA world route, he could be paired with current champion Leigh Wood or if he aims a step higher, it will be Mexican Leo Santa Cruz who will then lie in wait.

Whatever the potential move is, will play out in good time and before Conlan takes to the ring again for what would be his 17th professional fight, James Gallagher will once again be fighting for the Bellator MMA organisation.

Perhaps considered as the second division in the world of MMA, Bellator has been a rather fertile stomping ground over the years and if a litany of wins can be earned, then the gates to the UFC then open.

That’s not to say that Bellator does not possess any high-profile fighters of their own – if anything far from it and one of the men who is flying their flag and the Irish one at the same time, is the 24-year-old Gallagher.

Known as “The Strabanimal” when in the environment of caged warfare, he currently possesses an overall fight record of 11-1 and has won each of his last four outings within the parameters of Bellator.

Since a 2018 defeat to Ricky Bandejas, it has been nothing but entries into the win column and this has meant getting the better of a quartet comprising of Steven Graham, Jeremiah Labiano, Roman Salzaar, and Cal Ellenor. 

While with those four disposed, the next target is that of Patchy Mix at November’s Bellator 270 and if he can get the better of the Buffalo, New York born fighter, then a title opportunity may soon be heading his way.

Which would only add further credence to the combative nature of Irish fighters and if further success does come to either of the two men in question, it will only inspire more Irish men and women to enter the cage or the ring. 

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