Marc McCullough proved on Saturday night that he has the talent and the ability to go a long way in the featherweight division.
McCullough outboxed and then stopped Willie Casey in the ninth round of their Irish title fight in front of a packed Odyssey arena.
The John Breen trained McCullough has been talked about in the past as an ‘exciting prospect’ but he came of age on Saturday night.
McCullough looked the part before stopping Casey in the ninth and he can now look to muscling into a shot at fighting for the British title in the coming months.
“This is a big stepping stone for me. This is just the start for me and this is a win I needed.
“Willie is a former European champion and to get his name on my record is great.
“I would think of fighting for a British title in the middle of next year.
“I think I would need another couple of fights before I could mix it with the big boys.
“I don’t think I am ready for those guys just yet, but I am not far away from those fights.
“I will just keep working away and my chance will come if I can keep winning.
“Fighting in Belfast is great and I love being on these bills,” he added.
And McCullough says the fight went according to plan.
“The first round was a bit of a war, but I started to relax after that and I started to enjoy it.
“I had never gone 10 rounds before, but I still felt fresh in the ninth and I got him out of there.
“Willie is tough and he can punch. He caught me a couple of times and I could feel the power.
“He did not hurt me, but I could feel the power. He caught me with a couple of bodyshots, but I thought I handled him well.” he added.
And Casey says he was disappointed with the result but he was glad to be back in action after 13 months of inactivity.
“We knew at the end that I had to pick it up and we were maybe rushing it a wee bit and I got caught there at the end.
“I always knew he was good and I knew he would be sharp. I am a wee bit rusty and that counted against me. I had to move up to featherweight and that’s a problem.”