Angel ABC's successful Gallagher cousins story
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
Angel ABC was founded in 1980 by the late John Jacobs and the late Tom Bracken, and the Gallagher cousins Patrick (Blue Boy) and Patrick Joseph (PJ) were largely responsible in the late 1980s and beyond for putting the Islington based amateur boxing outfit, on not only the London amateur boxing mat, but nationally as well.
The cousins, Blue Boy (born July, 22 1971) and PJ (born on St Valentines Day- 14th February 1973) both hailed from Manchester, but were from Irish travelling stock and moved to north London in the early 1980s and in 1987 they joined the Angel ABC and both started to carve out their respective boxing careers there.
If comparisons indeed are to be made, Blue Boy had more success in the amateur ranks; while younger cousin PJ excelled more in the professional code.
Patrick Gallagher (Blue Boy) got the Angel championship roll going, winning the National Junior ABA Class A under51kgs championship in 1987 and in 1988 he claimed the Junior ABA Class B under 57kgs title.
He boxed often for England and was very powerful as he entered the senior ranks, reaching the ABA lightweight final in 1990; although there was major hiccup on the way to carrying off the Angel ABC’s first ever National Senior crown and still their only one to date.
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In the London ABA lightweight final held at the Royal Albert Hall, Gallagher lost a unanimous points decision which went in favour of tough battler, Martin Harley from the Fisher Club in Bermondsey in south-east London. Harley won with two scores of 59-58 and one of 60-56. However a few days before the next stage of the National championships ( the English ABA semi-finals), Harley sustained a hand injury and couldn’t take part; so Gallagher took his place and won through to the ABA final.
There he met the stylish Billy Schwer form Luton Irish ABC, an England international and a very skilful and tricky opponent.
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Gallagher won on points and deservedly so, despite receiving a “public warning” in the third round for “hitting with the open glove” from an over zealous “third man” who had also reprimanded the Angel man in the first round for some other infringements.
Chief coach, Kevin Jacobs (son of the Angel ABC founder, John) and Colin Wilson had got the tactics spot on for Blue Boy who was fast becoming pretty much unbeatable at domestic level.
He went on to take part in the 1991 ABA Senior National championships to defend his crown and once again Martin Harley loomed large in his way.
The two men who both relished a “tear up” met once again in the London ABA finals, this time held at the York Hall in Bethnal Green.
Gallagher triumphed in a blood and guts bout, stopping Harley in the third round after a titanic struggle.
However, this year, fate was to strike once again, and this time to conspire against Gallagher as a few days before the final he injured his hand and was ruled out of the final which passed to Midlander, Paul Ramsey (Small Heath ABC) by a walkover.
Blue Boy was done with the vest and headguard and steered by the late John Jacobs, he threw in his lot with Barry Hearn’s fast rising Matchroom Organisation, making his paid debut on December, 22, 1992 at the Grosvemor House in Mayfair, forcing a third round stoppage of Midlander Karl Taylor, who suffered a badly cut left eyebrow, it had been scheduled for a six rounder.
Gallagher had been widely touted as a potential future world champion, given his fine amateur pedigree; but sadly it did not work out that way.
In all, Gallagher boxed in the paid code for a decade and only packed in 13 contests, 11 victories and 2 defeats, there were long periods of inactivity throughout his career.
His last professional contest was a victory by disqualification over Jason Dee in January 2002 in Dagenham.
PJ however started boxing at the age of nine and remained with the Angel throughout his amateur career. He engaged in 80 contests, winning 65 and losing 15. Trained initially as a junior with Paul Hammick, he later was trained by Colin Wilson as he entered the senior ranks.
PJ won the National Junior ABA Class B under57kgs crown in 1989 and an NABC Class B title in 1990. Moving up into the senior ranks he won the London ABA lightweight title in 1992 and lost in the English semi-finals narrowly and somewhat disputedly to Dean Amory (Kingshurst ABC), the eventual ABA Champion that season.
He boxed regularly for his country between 1989 and 1992 throughout Europe, the USA and even Iran.
Time was now right to turn professional and he did so with the then Frank Maloney (now Kellie Maloney) as his manager. Making his professional debut in September 1993 stopping John T Kelly inside two rounds at the York Hall, Bethnal Green, in a scheduled four rounder. He carried on his winning streak to thirteen contests before he went for his first title tilt, winning the vacant Southern Area super-featherweight championship halting Justin Murphy in six rounds, this fight was also billed as an eliminator for the British title at that weight.
Next up was the vacant WBC International super-featherweight crown and he won that with a wide unanimous points decision over Russian boxer, Rakhim Mingaleyev in Bracknell in January 1996. Next on PJ’s title list was the vacant British title and he cleaned this up as well halting Scotland’s Davey McHale in ten rounds in April 1996.
In late June 1996, Gallagher made the first defence of his British title, with a wafer thin points (117- 116.5) success over teak tough Charles Shepherd from Carlisle, the fight was held at Erith in Kent.
Then in February 1997, a mystery illness struck down PJ in a warm up fight against a journeyman named Bamana Dibateza from the Democratic Republic of Congo, but based then in Dagenham, who easily outpointed PJ over eight rounds at Cheshunt. It was later discovered that Gallagher was suffering from low testosterone levels, which made him feel weak and unfit.
This was PJ’s first and only paid loss and he decided to give up his British belt and take time out of the ring to recover.
Over three years later Pat made a comeback in June 2000 in Belfast against old foe, Marco Fattore, whom he very comfortably outpointed.
A month later Gallagher easily outpointed David Kehoe (58-56) at the Elephant and Castle Leisure Centre in south-east London and waved goodbye to his fans as he announced his retirement from boxing.
He won 19 contests (nine inside) and lost but once and was a great champion whose busy all action style endeared him to his large and faithful gathering of vocal fans.