Gary Cully out to prove he is Ireland’s best lightweight


An Irish title opportunity may not arise but Gary Cully [6(3)-0] is looking to prove that he is the best lightweight in Ireland.

The Naas southpaw has been bumped up to chief support for the big Belfast bill at the Titanic Exhibition Centre tomorrow night where he takes a step up to eight rounds versus Tanzanian Mohammed Kambuluta [18(7)-5(5)].

Cully impressed massively last time out when he dominated and stopped Jordan Ellison and is looking to make a similar statement in a higher-profile fight against an opponent who has only ever lost to big names away from home.

Kambuluta’s five losses – to Sakaria Lukas, Albert Pagara, Luke Jackson, Georgi Chelokhsaev, and Martin J Ward – have all come by stoppage and Cully is looking to inflict another inside-the-distance defeat on the awkward African.

The 22-year-old elite prospect described how “since Kambuluta was confirmed, we studied him and realised he comes out of the traps quickly to have a go.”

“He’s wiry and awkward so I’m going to have to slow him down and then catch him in the middle rounds. I think he goes down quite easily. I think when I catch him, I’m going to hurt him and he’s going to quit.

“It’s a quick turn around since my last fight so I was already fit and straight back in the gym.”

Cully trains at home with long-time coach Niall Barrett as well as in Dublin with head coach Pete Taylor. Here, has been joined by Crumlin light welter Phil Sutcliffe Jr and there have been some intense sparring sessions between the pair.

It’s all for Cully’s benefit who explained how “I’ve been sparring Phil Sutcliffe Jr, who’s naturally much heavier than me, so I’m improving my physical strength inside.”

“I probably lacked a bit of man-strength, being only 22, and I feel that I’m gaining that now. I’m ready to take on these bigger tests.”

Cully believes that Kambuluta can offer a springboard into 2019 and big fights.

The Kildare fighter has been all-Irish keen and wants to prove he is the best on the island – with his team offering Paul Hyland a fight earlier in the year and also revealing that they’ve been turned down by a further five Irishmen.

Cully feels he is already the best in the land and is hoping to fight for belts in the near future and getting the sort of rankings to make this an undisputable claim.

The Sarto stylist outlined how “I’ve got a good slot on the show. It’s a big stage for me to remind everybody of what I’m about. I made a statement last time against Jordan Ellison so I’m looking to cement my name as the best lightweight in the country.”

“My perfect 2019 would be belts, belts and more belts. I’d love an Irish title but it doesn’t look like we can make a fight for that.”

“Regardless, I want to be in the top 10 in the world in a major governing body next year. In two or three fights, I want to fight ranked guys,” added the fighter who has his sights set on, among others, IBF European champ Robbie Barrett.

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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