Next month in Liverpool, unbeaten local super middleweight rivals Callum Smith (17-0, 12ko) and Rocky Fielding (21-0, 12ko), contest the (vacant) British 168 lb title in a fight for city bragging rights and the opportunity to move on to bigger and better things, yet their respective trainers have started a war of words reflective of what’s at stake, with shots publicly fired back and forth between them.
Oliver Harrison, who trains Fielding, as well as former 3x world title challenger, Martin Murray, spoke publicly this week to criticise Smith’s cornerman, Joe Gallagher, who has amassed arguably the most successful stable of fighters in the UK at the moment, slamming his coaching rival as arrogant.
Gallagher, who counts WBA (reg) champion, Scott Quigg and WBO 154 lb champ, Liam Smith among his fighters, as well as world title challenger, Anthony Crolla, is currently training from Amir Khan’s Gloves Community Centre base in Bolton and Salford based rival Harrison, seems to think the world title success may have gone to his head.
“[Gallagher] talks so much c**p. It’s the worst garbage I’ve ever heard from a boxing trainer,” he told Sky Sports. “He’s always knocking people down. When you talk about that guy, there’s nothing good about him.
“I knew Joe when he was nothing and he’d come and talk to you. He was humble, but now it’s like he’s Don King and he can’t shut his mouth,” he added.
“If I am talking too much don’t be worrying about it,” Gallagher retorted via the same broadcaster. “Oliver needs to concentrate on his own job, Look after your own garden Oliver, stop looking over other people’s fences because I am not looking over anyone’s fence. I am concentrating on what I have got to do,” he said.
The grudge match from Liverpool is viewed by most as essentially a 50/50 and a crucial step toward either man eventually moving forward to world level, with both taking baby steps toward that last time out.
They both appeared on the same card back in June, with the highly touted Smith gaining a hard-fought points decision of tough Frenchman, Christopher Rebrasse, while Smith destroyed past best veteran American middle/super middleweight contender, Brian Vera in two rounds.
The fight will be live Nov. 7 on Sky Sports in the UK.