BY CHRIS MCNULTY
MICHAEL Gallagher has been drawn against Maksim Kazlou of Belarus in a heavyweight preliminary round bout at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.
The Finn Valley ABC man will take on Kazlou at the Nanjing International Exhibition Centre at around 2pm on Saturday.
The 18-year-old qualified at the World Youth Championships as he defeated Thomas Oomen of Netherlands in a box-off after losing out to Cuba’s Yordan Hernandez in a quarter-final.
His opponent on Saturday, Kazlou, also made it by way of a winning a box-off in Sofia.
Gallagher won the tenth Irish title of his career in January and has gone to China in fine fettle. Also this year he won bronze at the VII International Youth Tournament, the ‘Nikolay Pavlyukov Memorial’, in Anapa, Russia.
The power-punching Kinletter man has been handed a tough draw, but following a solid training camp in Hong Kong he arrived in confident mood in China.
The other preliminary round bout sees Hernandez – the gold medalist in Sofia at the World Youths – facing Robert Marton, who won bronze at the Worlds after defeating Kazlou.
Gallagher won a bronze medal at the European Schoolboy Championships in Yambol, Bulgaria in 2010, losing out to Bulgaria’s Blagov Naydenov in a semi-final.
Gallagher is in Nanjing, China, with a sixteen-strong Team Ireland, including three boxers – Gallagher, Mayo’s Ciara Ginty and Cork’s Christina Desmond.
Ginty takes on Italy’s Monica Floridia in a women’s lightweight preliminary round contest early on Saturday while Desmond faces Nien-Chin Chen of Chinese Taipei in a women’s middleweight semi final on Sunday.