Jubliant Jude Gallagher insisted he did not feel the weight of expectation to follow in the footsteps of Ulster’s great boxing lineage at the Commonwealth Games after winning his first bout.
Gallagher put on a clinic to see off Swaziland’s Zweli Comfort Dlamini and make the last 16 after winning a unanimous points decision at Birmingham’s NEC.
The 20-year-old’s 57kg category is something of a traditional stronghold for Ulstermen at the Games with Michael Conlon taking gold at Glasgow 2014 and Kurt Walker following up with silver on the Gold Coast.
Gallagher said: “Ulster has a great tradition at featherweight, so that's a lot to live up to.
“It's no extra pressure. I'm hoping I can carry on in the same vein and do the same as they did.
“I had a great preparation for this tournament and feel fantastic, especially as it is my first senior championships."
Gallagher is the reigning Ulster Elite champion but came up against an unknown quantity in Dlamini.
He said: “I’m happy. He was a very tricky first opponent.
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“You know he’s going to be tough coming from an African nation and you don’t know much about them.
“Two things you know is they are going to be strong and fit and he definitely was. He was very strong and physically powerful but I’m happy with my performance.
“There’s plenty of things I can work on but that’s all down to the coaches, whatever plan they set out for me to do is what I’ll do.”
Gallagher revealed he is arrowing in on gold after feeling a lot stronger at 57kg having broken onto the scene at 52.
He added: “Ever since I started boxing it’s always been a dream of mine to get on the top of that podium at the Commonwealths and my aim will still be the same.”
The world and European Youth bronze medallist is focused on recovering and getting ready for his next bout after revelling in the raucous atmosphere in Birmingham.
Gallagher said: “The stadium is unreal and the atmosphere is great when you walk in.
“The support I have back home is unreal, the amount of people that have text me wishing me well has been breathtaking and I just want to thank them all.”
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