Linares lift off – Cully targets Croke Park showdown with star name

Gary Cully [15(9)-0] is ready to put his name in lights and wants former three weight world champion Jorge Linares [47(29)-8(6)] to help him flick the switch.

Cully enjoyed somewhat of a breakout year in 2022, stopping former world champion Miguel Vazquez when he was finally handed a chance on a big Matchroom card, earning himself a Matchroom contract in the process. He then blitzed Jaoud Belmehdi in under 40 seconds in what was his first official fight under their promotional banner.

Indeed, so impressed has Eddie Hearn been with the Nass southpaw he has already handed him a contract extension.

Now with the backing of one of the biggest promotional outfits in the world, Cully is confident he has the platform from which to launch a stardom bid.

The Pete Taylor trained six foot plus lightweight sees a slot on the potential Croke Park Katie Taylor homecoming as the perfect launch pad and believes Venezualan star Jorge Linares is the perfect rocket fuel.

“2023 I believe is the year where I really become a star and become a name in world boxing,” Cully said.

“I want to fight early in the year and get some ring time and get active. A big aim of mine this year is to fight at Croke Park back in my home on the undercard of the big Katie Taylor rematch with Amanda Serrano. Hopefully all going well that gets over the line and I’ll be in a position for a big fight on that card. I hope to be co-headlining on Katie’s show in a big fight against a Jorge Linares or another big name in the division,” he adds before revealing bil topping Dublin ambitions.

“Moving on later into the year I’d like to return to Dublin and headline my own show. I want to become a force and a name back in my home at the 3Arena. Lots of big plans in 2023, lots of exciting times ahead and lots of big nights.”

Linares, who held the WBC featherweight title from 2007 to 2008; the WBA super featherweight title from 2008 to 2009; and the WBA, WBC and Ring magazine lightweight titles between 2014 and 2018, has a good working relationship with Matchroom having fought Luke Campbell, Kevin Mitchell and Anthony Crolla.

He has more recently shared the ring with now undisputed lightweight world champ Devan Haney as well as Vasyl Lomachenko. He fought twice and lost twice in Russia last year and at 37 is past his best. However, he would represent a huge step up for the Matchroom lightweight.

Team Linares have indicated to Irish-boxing.com that Matchroom are aware of the purse it would take to tempt the Future Hall of Fame fighter to Ireland.

Reflecting on a year that allows Cully, who fights Wilfredo Floreson tehWood Lara card on February 18, to mention such a big name ‘The Diva’ said: “2022 was massive for me, the biggest year of my career so far. To get the opportunity to fight Miguel Vazquez on the big Wood vs. Conlan card back in March and to beat him in the fashion that I did was a massive statement. I kicked on from there and signed with Matchroom at the start of August which was a massive step forward in my career. It was a huge step for me and something that I’d been working towards for a long time. To get my official Matchroom debut against Jaouad Belmehdi on a big Katie Taylor undercard and to get a first round knockout in 35 seconds was great statement. Two big wins and two big knockouts set me up perfectly for a massive 2023.”

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