News September 2013

Joe Gallagher reflects on Burns-Beltran, talks Smith bros and Cardle


By @shaun_brown

Joe Gallagher may have been working last Saturday night but that didn’t stop him taking his seat for a fight that has proven to be one of the most controversial this year.

Before Ricky Burns defended his WBO Lightweight title for a fourth successive time, since being installed as full champion in January of last year, Gallagher was guiding Callum Smith and Scotty Cardle to their seventh and twelfth wins, without defeat, respectively.

Gallagher spoke to Live Fight inside a relieved Glasgow SECC not long after Burns and Beltran had fought to a highly disputed draw. With the Scot now facing an anxious period to find out if he will fight again, Gallagher gave his own take on that night’s main event.

“He [Beltran] was the aggressor in the fight and world title fights always seem to go to the aggressor. It was close and I said to [Burns’ promoter] Eddie [Hearn] ‘There’s two rounds now and he’s got to come on strong now’ and he did come on strong. Beltran did a lot of good work on the ropes but when he was at range and in the middle of the ring Ricky was throwing some great, straight arrows and one-twos. When Ricky got it in range he had his moments. I’ve seen everyone on Twitter jumping up and down but tt’s not the biggest travesty, I’ve seen worse. On reflection it could’ve went a point either side.”

Gallagher, who had hoped to be in the opposite corner for Burns’ next title defence with his own lightweight star, Anthony Crolla, had nothing but praise for the champion’s efforts after suffering a horrific injury.

“Ricky’s a world champion, he showed a lot of pride and desire tonight. He cracked his jaw, got knocked down, got back up and still hung in there. It was a champion’s heart, there was no quit in Burns tonight.”

Before the night’s proceedings a lot of speculation had Burns linked with a fight against Crolla, a move to light welterweight or a journey to America to face one of Top Rank’s rising stars, Terence Crawford, in the New Year. Should Burns fight on, Gallagher insisted he has no reason to go to America and should follow in the footsteps of previous British stars Joe Calzaghe and Ricky Hatton.

“Ricky can learn from these guys like Beltran, in his last fight [against Jose Gonzalez] he tried to be a little bit different and was coming up against a different kind of style and these are good fights that will stand him in good stead if he does go to America. I wouldn’t though. Like Ricky Hatton, like Joe Calzaghe when you are the champion you stay here. That Crawford wants him in America but who is he? You’re not the champion, you don’t dictate just because American TV says so. It worked for Joe and it worked for Ricky. I’m sure if Crawford was champion he wouldn’t be expected to come over here. You come here as challenger and that’s it. Ricky should go for the unification, keep earning money because it’s a hard sport and when the time comes for the big fights he’ll be prepared for it.”

Thoughts turned back to Callum Smith and Scotty Cardle after another successive night inside sport’s toughest office. Smith 7-0 (5 KOs) the youngest of the four fighting brothers is catching everyone’s eye with each victory and after taking care of Kirill Psonko in less than one round, the 23-year-old moves on to a sterner task in the 14-6 (1 KO) Patrick Mendy at Liverpool’s Olympia on Sep 21 in what will be Smith's first eight-round contest.

“I wasn’t expecting Callum Smith to stop him in the first round; that was a solid kid who just went the distance recently with [Frank] Buglioni, went four rounds with [Chris] Eubank Jr and took George Groves the distance in the past. He didn’t go out there like a kid trying to stop him. He picked his shots, looked for all the spots and just took him out and had a cool head on him at the same time."

Cardle 12-0 (2 KOs) returned from a lay-off after sustaining a hand injury against Maxi
Hughes in April for the Central Lightweight title. The Scots-born 23-year-old faced a tricky assignment against the 11-2 (2 KOs) Gary Fox where the hand problem appeared to return.

“I was really happy with Scotty Cardle,” said Gallagher.

“He fought a guy with a decent record, he’d been out five months and got eight good rounds in the bank. He didn’t get cut and I’m really happy. I’m pleased he got the rounds, pleased with his jab, his movement and that he got to shake the rust off. The hand will be okay. At the end of the night we got two wins so it’s onwards and upwards and we move on to September.”

September could see the Gallagher stable land their maiden world title when Scott Quigg fights Cuba’s Yoandris Salinas for the WBA World Super Bantamweight title. But before then, light-middleweight Liam Smith has the chance to put himself and his family into the history books by capturing his own British title on Sep 21 [when he takes on Erick Ochieng] and follow in the footsteps of his brothers Paul and Stephen who hold the super-middleweight and super-featherweight versions.

“If Liam wins that he’ll be part of history and however long the Lonsdale belt’s been going this has never been done before. I’m privileged I’ve been picked to train them,” Gallagher beamed.

“We found a good American who’s the double of Ochieng style wise. I'm sure he’s sick to death of reading about the Smith’s and he’ll want to come up and spoil the party. If he comes into the ring wearing those Kanye West glasses and we lose to him I’ll absolutely do my nut in,” he laughed.

“Liam’s motivated. Out of all of them this bit of history has fell on the right brother’s lap. Liam thrives on being the last. If you were in the four-hundred metre relay you’d want Liam to have the baton in the last leg.”

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