Jude Gallagher beats Ryan Eagleson in battle of Commonwealth Games champions

Jude Gallagher won the battle of the Commonwealth Games champions in Dublin
Jude Gallagher's victory sets up a final with Galway's Adam Hession next weekend

In a battle of Commonwealth Games champions Jude Gallagher defeated Dylan Eagleson in the 57kg featherweight semi-finals at the 2024 Irish National Championships in Dublin.

The Newtownstewart boxer, fighting at his natural weight, was too good for Eagleson.

Eagleson had moved up a weight division from bantamweight to fight for a place in the Ireland squad for the upcoming World Olympic qualifying tournament.

That will be Italy in February.

Both men had won gold medals at last year's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham for Northern Ireland.

This was a must win fight for Gallagher.

Despite missing the 2023 Nationals because of injury, he was given the place in the Ireland team for the European Games in Poland last June which was the first opportunity to qualify for the Paris Olympics.

Gallagher lost a tough first fight by a split decision and so going into these championships needed to prove to the selectors he is worthy of another opportunity.

Eagleson had beaten the defending national champion, Paul Loonam, in the quarter-finals last weekend but the Antrim fighter found his opponent too tough.

Gallagher controlled the centre of the ring from the start and dictated the pace of the fight. While Eagleson relied on his ability to counter-attack, Gallagher's flurry of combinations proved too effective in a dominating first two rounds.

Rather like his fight at the European Games, Gallagher found it difficult to keep the furious tempo going in the final round and Eagleson had his best three minutes of the contest but it was too little, too late although Gallagher may need to learn quickly to pace the nine minutes better.

At the end of the fight the two men hugged in the centre of the ring. Often team mates but now rivals showing the mutual respect they have for each other. The unanimous 5-0 verdict the right result.

Gallagher moves forward to the National Final on Saturday evening when he will face Adam Hession from Galway who had a split decision win over Davy Joyce.

A win for the Ulsterman would likely secure his place in the Ireland team and a second opportunity to clinch a place for Paris next summer.