Emotional KO King Paul McCullagh dedicates Ulsters win to legendary grandfather


Saturday was a special night for the McCullagh family.

19-year-old Paul McCullagh won the Ulster Elite Senior light heavyweight title by first-round knockout, continuing a proud legacy for the fighting family.

The St John Bosco heavyweight had his father, Paul, with him in the corner while his grandfather, also Paul, was with him in spirit.

The elder Paul McCullagh, a legend of Belfast boxing, passed away suddenly last October at the age of 72, and his grandson would dedicate the win over Noel Donnelly to him.

An emotional McCullagh said afterwards that “that was for my grandad, he passed away a couple of months ago unfortunately and I’m carrying his name on with great pride.”

“He’s still with me in my heart and I want to dedicate this win to my grandfather because he’s with me each step of the way so he is.”

The teenager, who has worked his way down from super heavyweight, showed impressive power to dispatch Donnelly and he noted how he has a puncher’s genes

McCullagh joked that “if I could hit as hard as my dad I’ll be flying! He was a cracking boxer back in his day and that’s what I want to do, follow in his footsteps.

A hungry fighter, McCullagh does not intend on basking in his knockout victory for long and plans to keep impressing.

The brick-fisted Belfast boxer outlined how “I’m very happy but it’s back to the drawing board, back training hard, I want to lift every title.”

“The Irish Elites are in a couple of weeks so it’s back down, training hard, and I’m going to win them.”

“Nobody has seen the best of me yet, I’m only coming into myself now. That was only a wee glimpse of it, there’s a lot more to come.”

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie