PRO BOXING: Tyrone McCullagh faces unbeaten German No.1 at the Devenish
TYRONE '˜White Chocolate' McCullagh is determined to keep his unblemished record intact as he looks to end a successful year on a high at the Devenish on Friday night.
The slick southpaw ducks between the ropes for the fifth and final time in 2017 when he takes on Germany’s No.1 ranked super bantamweight, Tom Tran on the ‘Danger at the Devenish 2’ card.
Both fighters put their unbeaten records on the line in what’s expected to be an explosive eight round scheduled contest at the Belfast venue.
‘Somebody’s ‘0’ has got to go’ insists McCullagh, coining that immortal boxing phrase, but the Derry man is confident that cherished numeral on the loss column will remain intact as he looks ahead to an exciting New Year.
And after apologising to fans for farcical end to his last display when his opponent was disqualified early in the second round for repeated rule infractions, ‘White Chocolate’ is determined to make amends.
While others are intent on building a padded record against very limited opposition, McCullagh doesn’t shun a challenge and has to be commended for taking on such a tough prospect so early in his career. However, he’s determined to win titles and believes the better opponent, the better he becomes.
The Glen Road man reckons Tran (6-0) will play his part in a top class bout as he looks to give punters value for money while stretching his own unbeaten record to 9-0 just two years after turning pro.
“It’s the fight I’ve wanted and it’s been a long time coming,” said McCullagh. “He’s unbeaten and I’m unbeaten so it’s a very interesting match-up.”
McCullagh and Tran’s paths have been converging since the German pulled out of a fight at the final hour last September despite having agreed terms and booked flights to Belfast.
Now that the fight has been secured for next week, McCullagh sees it as a chance to make him pay for previously messing up his fight preparations.
“It’s the same guy I was supposed to be fighting the last time but he pulled out so I owe him one for that,” he laughed.
“As far as I remember my manager phoned me and told me he got this fella who’s 6-0 on the Thursday before my fight which was on the Saturday. I then got the call saying he pulled out.
“Without a doubt it’s going to be my toughest challenge to date,” he added. “I’ve seen him about in the amateurs. We were at a few competitions together. I can’t really remember what he was like but he was boxing at the same competitions as me and was a top amateur.
“He’s ranked No.1 in Germany so it’s a fight I’m looking forward to. It promises to be a proper, decent scrap and it’s an eight rounder. I’ve been scheduled for a few six rounders but I’ve only ever done four so that will be another step up.
“I couldn’t do this without all the ticket sales people take off me and I was disappointed the last time after it ended one minute into the second round. This will certainly make up for it and it will be an interesting fight. Hopefully it’s a lot better than the last.
“I just focus on myself mainly. Maybe the first round might be a bit more cagey than normal as we size each other up. But I always believe that the better my opponent, the better I’m going to box. That’s just the way it happens - it brings out the best in me. So if I get my performance right on the night then that’s all that matters and things will go the way I want it to go.”
It’s been a busy 12 months for the 27 year-old and he’s hoping for an even better 2018.
“Sometimes the opponents didn’t go my way this year but that’s boxing. I’m delighted with the year I’ve had. Hopefully I can get this win and I’ve a few big things planned for 2018 but I have to get this one out of the way first.”