Gallagher confident ahead of Wembley showdown

JAMES 'The Strabanimal' Gallagher says he is in the 'shape of his life' as he prepares for his 10th Bellator bout this Saturday night at the SSE Arena, Wembley.

The Strabane sensation, still only 22, will take on Californian Jeremiah Labiano in an explosive show, hoping to add to his 8-1 record.

He will look to build off the momentum of his rebound victory in February, when he submitted Steven Graham in the Bellator 217 main event in Dublin. The victory was Gallagher’s response to the first loss of his career last year against Ricky Bandejas.

His forthcoming opponent, Labiano has made five appearances under the Bellator banner, most recently stopping Justin Smitley by TKO last September.

Gallagher has been active on Instagram this week, publishing a number of post-training photographs.

Speaking to media this week, Gallagher stressed that he is currently the biggest draw in Bellator and indeed, all eyes will be on the Strabane man this weekend in London. He also had a message to his critics.

"I’m not trying to shut anyone up or prove them wrong. I’m just doing what I’m doing, they have got their opinion," he told Evening Standard Sport. "They are wasting their time.

“Why should I be bothered when I’m doing something I love every day?

“I’m only 22 and still learning the game and these people [the rest of the bantamweight division] are talking about me as if I have been around 15 years. They can see the stress I put on them and that I have something they want.

“They can say this and that but at the end of the day, statistics can’t lie. How come I’m the biggest draw in Bellator? How come I get the most views? How come I get paid more than these people?

"It doesn’t add up, I feel like they are all lying through the teeth and are not saying what they actually see. They are just saying what they think people want to hear."

On his forthcoming opponent, Gallagher said: "He can cause me problems, but he can’t cause me any trouble. Any problems, I will figure them out very quickly and I’ll solve them.”

Meanwhile, Bandejas has revealed that he would be happy to face Gallagher in a re-match, potentially in September in Dublin. Bandejas stunned Gallagher with his first career-loss last summer.

"I heard Bellator is going back [to Dublin] in September so I think if I get this win here that would be a hell of a fight,” Bandejas told the Irish Mirror.

"Especially in his home town in a main event, we'd sell it out in a heartbeat.

"We could do it as a title decider, that would be awesome and I hope it pans out that way, if all the stars line up I would hope we can fight again.”

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