STRABANE Mixed Martial Arts star James Gallagher expects his vast throng of supporters to raise the roof when he faces Israeli Kirill Medvedovski in the co-main event of Bellator 173 in the Belfast SSE Arena on Friday night.
The 20-year old unbeaten ‘Strabanimal’ said he has been blown away by the build-up and excitement in his home town as the fight gets closer. He again expects his supporters to be coming up in large numbers tomorrow evening and adds that they will be making their voices heard in what will be a crazy atmosphere.
“ It’s amazing, the whole place is coming. You’re going to see them on Friday night, it’s going to be something else. The people of Strabane always get behind me. It’s great and I love it- they make me feel like a king and I can’t thank them enough for that.
“ On Friday night, I’m going out there and I’m going to be doing them all proud. This is going to be another Gallagher show.”
James’ more experienced opponent holds a 7-3 record and will walk into the cage with over twice the number of professional fights under his belt. However a bullish Gallagher said that the name or history of his opponent matters very little to him and that when the cage door closes the result will always be the same regardless who’s in there with him.
“ I’m not focusing on anything but caving his head in,” Gallagher said. “ That’s all I need to think about. There’s nothing else I need to be focused on right now- it’s the only thing that’s been on my mind. Nothing can take my focus away.
“ Whether they talk before a fight or whether they say nothing at all- it’s the same thing to me. Whether he’s shouting his mouth off or says nothing at all, I’m going in there and I’m going to get it done early. Whether I light him up with a few shots early on and knock him out, or whether I get his back early and choke him out- whatever happens, it’s all the same.”
The pair will go head to head at the SSE Arena with Gallagher aiming to extend his unbeaten professional run to six wins. The two men had been due to meet in Medvedovski’s native Israel late last year but Gallagher was taken off the card so he could take on the big American Anthony Taylor.
While Gallagher made light work of Taylor in Dublin, forcing him to tap out in the third round, it has been less straightforward for his next opponent. Medvedovski started his pro career with a six fight winning streak but has taken the honours in only one of his last five bouts.
Having signed for Bellator in 2016 Gallagher, a product of SBG Ireland under head coach John Kavanagh, has two wins under his belt in the promotion and with fight number three just around the corner he can’t contain his excitement
“ I’m perfect, I couldn’t feel better. My weight is good, I got loads of energy and I’m just ready to cave someone’s head in now- that’s all there is to it. Bellator saved this guy’s life by cancelling the first fight in Israel. He won’t get away from me that easily this time.
“If he thinks he has an advantage over me on the ground, I’m going to go straight in there and put him on his back so we can find out. I’ll prove who the real jiu-jitsu guy is, mark my words.
“Don’t get me wrong I won’t be cutting any corners, I’ll be ready to bomb the jaw off this guy if he wants to exchange too. It doesn’t really matter what he does, I’m going to have my hand raised anyway.”
Having only just fought on Dec 16th at Bellator 169 in Dublin James has had a short turnaround going from fight camp to fight camp. He states though that he trains every day regardless of whether he has a fight or not.
“ It’s easy for me. I’m in the shape of my life right now coming off that win in December. I feel like I’ve grown a lot in these last few months
“This is what I do anyway- maybe I go a little harder if there’s a target or something, but it’s not like camp one, camp two, I’m just training the same way I do when I don’t have a fight,” concluded the Carlton Drive man.
Bellator 173, which is a co-promotion with the BAMMA28 card, will air via same day delay on Spike TV.