Sports

Gallagher tipped for Croke Park showdown after epic New York victory

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Gallagher tipped for Croke Park showdown after epic New York victory thumbnailStrabane's James Gallagher celebrates after his victory at Madison Square Garden, New York.

STRABANE MMA star, James Gallagher, is being tipped for a title showdown at Croke Park after defeating Chinzo Machida in the first round at Bellator 180 in New York's Madison Square Garden.

The 20-year-old applied the fight-ending rear naked choke against the Brazilian, Machida, who is double his age, at the world famous venue on Saturday night in front of a large contingent from Strabane. His mum, Doreen, and girlfriend, Caoimhe Harkin, watched on in delight.

Superstar Conor McGregor offered his support to the Strabane man, tweeting: 'Atta boy Jimmy boy!! Smooth work @StrabanimalMMA".

Gallagher dominated the contest from the start and he took Machida down after just a minute. From there, Gallagher made it look easy as he landed elbows in Machida's guard before taking his back.

Gallagher then took his time to sink in the rear-naked choke and after a brief struggle, he locked it in. Machida had nowhere to go and he tapped out to give Gallagher the win. The victory extends Gallagher's record to a phenomenal 7-0.

After the fight, Gallagher paid tribute to his father, Andy, who wasn't able to make the trip, as well as the raucous travelling support from Strabane. Gallagher also called out featherweight champion, Patricio Freire, immediately after his win.

The champion fired back via Twitter and opened the door to a massive showdown at Croke Park in Dublin.

Meanwhile. speaking to the press after his win in New York, Gallagher said his aim was to be the "greatest fighter of all time".

"They all know I'm coming. It's only a matter of time. I'm young. I'm hungry. I've got everything. I've got the team behind me. I've got the family to support me. I've got that motivation like no one else. All these guys are on their way out. I'm only getting started.

"I'm young - I've got time, I've got everything. I've got the mindset, I've got the skill set, I've got the youth and I've got everything to be the greatest fighter of all time, and that's exactly what I'm going to be."

Asked about the comparisons with Conor McGregor, Gallagher said: "Conor knocks everyone out with a straight left hand; I take everyone down and choke them with rear-naked chokes.

"That's nothing like Conor. But being compared to one of the greatest fighters of all time, the greatest fighter in history, the one that's going to knock Floyd Mayweather out cold, I'll take that all day long."

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