Paddy Gallagher suffered title heartbreak at the fists of Chris Jenkins in the Falls Park support attraction. While it would be harsh to begrudge Jenkins his win given the effort, he contributed to an extremely close fight. The feeling is that Gallagher just cannot seem to catch a break. The fight was called to the cards during the ninth, as champion Jenkins ailed from separate cuts across both eyes. A point denied Paddy on each card.
Gallagher began the fight on point, rapping out his jab, slicing away at the torso. Experienced champion Jenkins is a seasoned operator who has earned his trip the hard way. Gallagher’s nose was showing the spoils of war as early as the second. “Don’t stretch, dip your knees and go to the body,” roared Paddy’s coach Gerard McManus from his corner post vantage point.
Jenkins flicked his left jab from waist height like a snake-charmer. Gallagher bored in with solid hooks, attempting to remove the snake’s head. Belfast’s “Pat Man” showed his solid amateur grounding by bobbing in and out of range waiting for his chance to strike.
Irish-boxing.com’s Joe O’Neill remarked how difficult it must’ve been for a unit like Jenkins to make light-welterweight back in the day. The champion was relatively comfortable in the fourth, winning the battle of the jabs, finding Gallagher’s suddenly static head an inviting target for his telephone pole left.
The heads clashed in the fifth, buzzing Jenkins while offering Gallagher a new lease of life, and new hope to his fanbase. Paddy worked head and body as Jenkins regained his senses. The Welshman was on his bike in the sixth. Gallagher received a well-timed lift at the end of the round as he dropped Jenkins to his knees in the corner. Jenkins’ right arm had been noticeably sliding further down to protect his body. Gallagher found room in between to land a torso attack sufficient enough to prompt a count from Howard Foster.
Jenkins’ right eye was bleeding and his left eye was swelling. A low blow midway through the seventh bought him respite. Gallagher’s left hook to the body appeared to be the key to the door for the British title challenger. Howard Foster called the doctor to have a look at Jenkins as his left eyebrow displayed a cut. The champion’s face was beginning to mark up. Could his reign be on borrowed time?
Assessing Jenkins in the ninth, the doctor wanted an end to the fight. Between him and the referee, they pushed the fight to the judges’ scorecards at 1-32 of the stanza.
All three judges, Steve Gray, Terry O’Connor and Michael Alexander, had it 86-85 in Jenkins’ favour.
Credit to both Paddy Gallagher and Dennis McCann who had badges in memory of fallen boxer Maxim Dadashev stitched to their outfits.