Gallagher feels like a ‘whole new fighter’

James Gallagher

STRABANE Mixed Martial Arts sensation James Gallagher said fans will see a ‘whole new fighter’ when he returns to the cage this weekend.
It has been nearly five months since The Strabanimal’s last fight, but the 18-year-old said he has never felt ‘fitter, stronger, healthier or happier’ in his entire life ahead of Chaos Fighting Championships 14 in the Everglades Hotel, Derry, on Saturday night.
“I’ve had a few niggling injuries, back-to-back, which was a torture, but I am now 100 per-cent,” said James speaking from Reykjavík, Iceland last weekend.
In preparation James spent nearly two months in training with Mjölnir MMA, the home of UFC star Gunnar Nelson. “It’s my sixth time here. I really like training In Iceland, it’s very peaceful and there are no distractions.
“I’ve had a lot of good training partners, including Gunnar who is one of the top UFC fighters in the world at welterweight and Ryan Hall who is one of the best grapplers in the world.
“It has been such a privilege training with those guys and I’ve also been training with Arni Isakson, a legend of the MMA game,” he said.
James, who trains full-time in his second home, SBGi Ireland in Dublin, under the tutelage of well-known coach John Kavanagh, said he feels like a whole new fighter going into his next contest.
He said, “It has been about four or five months since I’ve last competed. I’ve had a few injuries so I was just focusing on learning and having fun training.
“I’m always learning. I feel like I’m only a beginner, to be honest. I’ve always liked the karate style of striking, but I’ve been doing a lot of boxing with coaches here.”
Still competing on the amateur circuit, James is again competing at lightweight (155lbs) when he faces Donegal man Eamon Clinton of Aiseri MMA, Milford, in the Everglades Hotel.
“My last three fights were at lightweight. The guys are massive compared to me, walking into the cage at 170lbs by the time the fight comes, while I am still 155lbs. But I was still winning.”
James said he is very much looking forward to fighting so close to home again. “It’s a big thing for me to fight at home.
“When I found I was fighting so close to home, I said I would sell the place out and knock my opponent out – I’ve already done one and next Saturday night I will do the other.”


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