The Derry man dubbed 'White Chocolate', who cruised to a comfortable 10 round victory over Spanish champion, Alvaro Rodriguez in Newcastle, wasn’t happy with his ‘scrappy’ and ‘average’ performance on the night.
However, he believes a fight against a quality operator will bring out the best in him and he’s hoping Portlaoise native, Doheny takes him up on his challenge, possibly at the West Belfast Festival next August, headlined by Michael Conlan.
When asked on IFL TV’s Youtube channel on Friday night if he would still like to fight TJ Doheny, McCullagh said it made sense as he looks to edge closer to his dream world title shot.
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Doheny was beaten on points in his unification fight with Daniel Roman last month in Las Angeles and McCullagh would love to chance to take him on to gauge what level he’s currently at.
“Definitely, I’d love to fight him,” said the southpaw. “He’s a former world champion and came close to unifying the belts. It would be a nice marker to see where I’m at if I did fight him.
“There’s a big show coming up in August and it would be a perfect fight for that if he wants it. But, again, that’s up to him, He might have his sights set on other things or maybe he’s taking a bit of a rest after his world title defeat.
“It would make sense (to have it in Ireland), it’s two Irish guys. It would be stupid to have it anywhere else but Ireland and I would love the fight. It would be one of the biggest local fights there’s been so why not?”
It was lucky number 13 for the unbeaten McCullagh in Newcastle as he moved to 13-0 with a win which should elevate him into the top 10 in the WBO’s super bantamweight rankings.
And he’s got his eyes firmly set on a world title tilt in the coming months, keeping a close eye on next week’s WBO world title rematch between current champion, Emanuel Navarrate (26-1-0) and Issac Dogboe (20-1-0).
“I know Navarrete fights Dogboe next week in a rematch for the world title so that’s the route I want to go down. I’d love to get the opportunity to fight one of those two for the world title at some stage but I need to box a lot better than I did tonight,” he admitted.
“I do believe the better quality of opponent I fight the better I’ll be. He ( Rodriguez) was very unorthodox and brought me down to his level. I’m disappointed at the minute with the performance but I’m sure I’ll look back in a couple of days and be happy with the win.”
All three judges awarded the fight to McCullagh, 98-92, 98-92 and 96-94 but the Glen Road man was far from happy with his display.
“It was nice to get the win but the performance was average at best. I’m aware that, at times, it looked very bad and very scrappy but the win is the main thing.”
“I know people complain that I’m unorthodox and that makes a fight awkward but he was going very low every time I attacked him. I was going over the top of him and the referee was warning me for pushing his head down but there’s nothing I could do about it because he was dipping that low.
“That’s boxing and you have adapt to these situations so hopefully I learn from it because I do know it looked very scrappy but I was landing some nice clean shots on him.”