Jamal Niaz Smith vs Ryder
Anthony Crolla, Callum Smith & Joe Gallagher look back on their huge year in discussion with Dom McGuinness!
2019 has been an eventful one to say the least for the Morson sponsored Anthony Crolla and Callum Smith. The former said farewell to the sport in his home city whilst the latter defended his multiple world titles on two of Matchroom's marquee shows. We recently hosted a panel event with the two boxers and trainer Joe Gallagher to reflect on the careers of the three men to date and look ahead to their futures.
Crolla: Retirement and Reflection
Anthony Crolla has always stated that he has wanted to leave the sport before he is forced to leave it. With exciting work in coaching prospect Dylan Evans and punditry with Sky Sports presenting itself throughout the year, this was the right time for Million Dollar to walk away from boxing. Prior to his final fight, Crolla had the opportunity to fight P4P great, Vasily Lomachenko back in April.
This was a massively valuable experience against a truly elite athlete and a payday that would secure a fruitful future for his family. After the Lomachenko fight, Anthony entered the Manchester Arena for the final time as he defeated the tough and durable Frank Urquiaga.
When speaking with Dom McGuinness at our panel event, Crolla looked back on a memorable night back in 2013, which was truly make or break for his career:
“I remember the Gavin Rees fight; my wife was heavily pregnant at the time and winning that fight allowed me to have that contract with Matchroom. If I’d have lost that fight, I think I wouldn’t have been able to be a full time professional boxer. That win allowed me to put a deposit on the house and you can see after that what it meant to me”
Anthony suffered seven losses during his 45-fight career, with an early loss to part time ice-cream manYoussef Al Hamidi momentarily setting his career back. Even though each defeat was tough to take in their own right, the 33-year-old sees them as vital learning curves to enable future progress:
“Joe took me on when very few people thought I would achieve a fraction of what I did. I had a fair few defeats but I never looked at them as losses, I looked at them as lessons. I had a few harsh lessons but I wouldn’t change them, they made me who I was and that gave me career that I had.”
The former WBA Lightweight Champion also pinpointed two of his proudest moments during his time in the ring:
“If I had to pick two moments, it’d be winning the world title or defending my world title. Being introduced as a world champion from Manchester by Michael Buffer and walking out still champion was probably the highlight of my career”
Callum Smith: Money fights and Vegas nights ahead for Mundo?
Last month saw Callum Smith successfully defend his WBA Super-Middleweight world title in a tougher than expected battle against mandatory challenger John Ryder. Callum admitted it wasn’t the best performance from himself in his initial post-fight interviews and fans and pundits voiced their opinions on whether the scorecards should have been as widely in favour of the youngest Smith brother in the immediate aftermath of the contest. Now that some time has passed, Callum gave his take on the fight and his performance:
“You’ve got to expect a bit of criticism when you don’t box well, that’s just part of being a world champion and I didn’t at the weekend. I’ve always said a good fighter wins when they perform and wins when they don’t and I believe I did that. Everyone thought it was going to be a blowout but it wasn’t, he earned his position to challenge for the World title and I went in there and go the win”
“I’d like to just fight the biggest names possible, it’ll give me that fear factor of if I don’t perform I’ll lose. The possibility of losing has always brought out the best in me, I get that fear when I fight the big names. I’ve got a very good team around me and hopefully they can deliver the big names next year”
Speaking of big names, Callum has a particular superstar in mind that he’s looking to throw down with next:
“Canelo. That’s the fight everyone wants, he’s the biggest name in boxing. It’s a fight I’d welcome and a fight I believe I would win. I believe he’s a better Middleweight than Super-Middleweight or Light-Heavyweight. If it’s not Canelo, then there’s a lot of other good fighters I’d love to share the ring with”
Joe Gallagher: Man management and Sacrifice
Manchester born Joe Gallagher became the first trainer to be named the Boxing News British Trainer of the year twice with his second win this year, a testament to his work in producing a number of world champions from his Gallagher’s gym stable. Joe gave an insight into one of the important ways he developed unique working relationships with each of his fighters:
“For 10 years, I’ve always ran a stable of 10-12 fighters and it’s the man management that’s key. You can’t treat them all the same. Years ago, we went to L.A but it was more for me to get to know my fighters. Outside of the gym, Callum and his brothers will go home and play a game of tennis, Anthony will help at his amateur club and others will play on their Playstation. It made me understand what made them tick.”
Gallagher also highlighted the more challenging aspects that come with being a world class coach and the sacrifices that are made to consistently reach targets:
‘The hardest thing for me is the studying the opponents and getting the potential sparring partners. The lads will come in on a Monday and ask if I watched the fight at the weekend and I’ll tell them that I haven’t because I’ve been watching their opponents. It affects your family life… I’ve had to miss parents’ evenings etc”
All three men should be immensely proud of what they have achieved so far and it was great to have Anthony, Callum and Joe at Adamson House to discuss manifesting goals, exceeding expectations and keys to staying motivated. We would like to congratulate the Gallagher’s Gym and Morson representatives on a great 2019 and look forward to seeing how the future unfolds!
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