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‘Life changing’ deal for The Strabanimal

JAMES Gallagher is ‘on top of the world’ and is looking to the future with positivity and confidence after signing a six fight deal with Bellator.

“The deal is life-changing for me and my family and it’s going to put me in a position that I don’t think there are many people around who have been in a position like that before, especially doing something that you love,” beamed the Strabane man.

“I’m great, feeling on top of the world so I’ll keep training and not think about it too much otherwise I’ll lose my mind! I’ll let Doreen [his mother] look after it and I’ll stay in the gym!”

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The first of the six bouts will take place on June 22 in London where he will tackle an opponent 10 years his senior in Jeremiah ‘The Kid’ Labiano.

With a record of 12 wins, the latest of which came in his last fight against Justin Smitely by way of TKO at Bellator 206, the Californian has plenty of experience from his 18 fights, but Gallagher is confident he’ll pick up his ninth win in what he expects to be ‘a good scrap’ against the Ju Jitsu black belt.

Having bounced back from his only defeat to Ricky Bandejas when he eased past Steven ‘Golden’ Graham in Dublin last month, Gallagher is looking forward to another home bout in September – once he takes care of Labiano, of course.

And that victory last time out was particularly important to the 22-year-old in more ways than one.

“I wanted to prove people right more than anything.

“I knew myself that I could do it and everyone around me knew that I could go there and beat him, so I just wanted to prove those people right,” James explained.

“It was my ma’s birthday that weekend and my grandad was sick, so I was able to dedicate it to him and I was able to go out there and do those people proud.

“That’s all that matters to me because I don’t worry about proving people wrong, they’re wrong anyway, I know they are wrong so let them be wrong and I’ll just keep the people believing in me right, that’s all I care about.”

Once he’s tackled Labiano and enjoyed another taste of action in Dublin, Gallagher will probably be in line for a title fight, but belts aren’t on his mind just yet.

“I’ve worked hard building my brand, I’ve got myself into this position, I’m a bigger fight for the champion than he is for me – the only good thing about him is he has the belt!,” he stated.

“I’m only 22, so I’m in no rush for the belt, I’m just focused on becoming the biggest superstar Bellator have got and then when I’m 26/27 I’ll go and get the belt when I’m ready.

“The ball doesn’t stop rolling, keep it moving and keep pushing forward and keep winning – I’m just looking to keep busy, keep winning and keep doing what I’m doing.”

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The Strabane Chronicle is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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