NEWTOWNSTEWART’S Jude Gallagher gained a useful workout against the reigning European Junior champion in Italy at the weekend.
The teenager travelled as part of the Ireland team for a week long training camp in Italy and while there he got the opportunity to pit his wits against Michele Baldassi, the reigning continental title holder.
Despite the short notice – Jude only heard about the trip a week before departure – the Two Castles ABC pugilist acquitted himself well against the European champion, who had been training with the national team since January, despite falling to a narrow defeat.
The Irish camp felt he shaded the first round, clearly won the second, but was patchy in the third. Despite Gallagher probably edging the contest, the Italian judges went for their fighter on this occasion.
Jude’s dad, John, said: “Some aspects of his performance we need to work on, but he was delighted to get the opportunity to box as it’s so very hard to get competitive competition in Ireland and indeed England and Wales.”
Jude added: “It was a nice change, but it was good and a tight fight that was too close to call.”
Ireland were beaten 6-2 on the day, although several of the contests may have gone their way with neutral judges.
All in all, though, the Irish camp thoroughly enjoyed the camp in Italy and they will use it as an early season marker ahead of bigger tests to come this year.
For Jude, his next challenge is likely to be the Under-18 nationals, but they aren’t scheduled until the early summer. Until then he will remain sharp in the gym.