Joe Gallagher talks to BritishBoxers about his life in the game he loves; from an amateur fighter for Jimmy Egan and Phil Martin, Gallagher decided his eventual future in boxing lay as a coach, like the two men who had made a massive impression on the young boxer and who were role models he looked up to and wanted to emulate.

Gallagher, 44, moved from Egan’s Boxing Club in Wythenshawe and joined Mosside’s Champs Camp were he fought as a senior in the boys clubs, travelling the country and training alongside some of the City’s best boxing talent at the Princess Road gym.

Joe with mentor first coach the late Jimmy Egan

After realising he wasn’t going to hack it working on the roads with his dad, the young boxing fanatic who had given up boxing to get a job and seek a living as a builder, one day decided he was instead going to pursue a career doing something he loved. Boxing!

Phil Martin had already seen something in Joe that suggested to the legendary Manchester boxing figure, that this young man who never stopped asking him questions and would sit through hours and hours of the gyms boxing video collection analysing pugilists moves, skills and habits, he had soaked up everything he had been told and there was no doubt he would one day go on to be a successful coach in his own right.
 
In 1994 aged just 44, Phil Martin who had revolutionised Manchester boxing with his unique way of coaching and foresight died after a long battle with cancer.
 
Phil’s death hit Joe hard and now as a 44 year old man himself, it dawns on him just how young Phil was when he passed and how much life he had ahead of him and the thought ‘haunts’ and upsets him that; the world was robbed of a special man and someone who still had an enormous amount to give to boxing.

Joe has gone on to coach numerous British, commonwealth and European champions, but it is still a world title belt that is missing from his coaching resume. But It isn’t for want of trying and Matthew Macklin who he coached almost won the middleweight title only to get a draw against Felix Sturm in Germany, a fight Joe is still adamant Macklin won. John Murray the lightweight former British and European champion who Joe had coached from the schoolboys, lost in his challenge to Bam Bam Rios getting stopped in the 11th after a typically brave effort, again so near, yet so far. The gym was thriving at the time and afterwards everyone went their separate ways, Joe included.

He decided to follow in Phil’s footsteps and use his memory to fuel and help fulfill his dream of taking a boxer on to win a world title so he could dedicate it to Phil Martin and Jimmy Egan.

Joe with anther of his boxing mentors the late Phil Martin

Among the current crop of boxers that he trains in Bolton at the Gloves community centre owned by Amir Khan, Scott Quigg stands on the cusp of a world title fight at super-bantamweight. The current British champion was crowned the WBA Interim champion after his recent win over Rendall Munroe and Joe believes in Quigg and sees in him a fighter who like the old school protagonists from Phil Martins Champ Camp days, lives and breaths the sport!
 
Coming from Benchill in Wythenshawe, Manchester, the biggest council estate in Europe, Gallagher was motivated from an early age to break away and make something of himself and boxing was his calling card and he soon realised the hurt game was where his future lay.

He is still as determined now as the young starry eyed boy who would hang on every word of Phil Martin and Jimmy Egan. That burning desire to be someone, to make a change, to nurture, guide and push the fellow human beings who seek his method and hire him to become a better boxer.

But only them who want it as much as him will prosper in his strict domain, the man who has been referred to as ‘boxing obsessive’ continues in his quest to achieve his goals in the game.

One of them goals is to one day try his hand at coaching in the States and taking some American fighters under his wing and opening a gym there. But for now his plan is to achieve the best he can with the exciting crop of boxers currently under his tutor-ledge.

Part 2