Gary Cully claims a clear dream got him through a tough 2019 and helped him secure Irish title success earlier this month.
The Naas fighter, suffered an injured plagued 12 months and also had to deal with his mother taking ill.
Both perfect excuses for taking your eye off the ball and maybe even drowning your sorrows.
However, Cully stayed focused on the end game and his vision of world domination. The Kildare lightweight continued to train with just one hand and despite the situation of his mother, who has thankfully recovered.
That sort of dedication ensured he went into the most eagerly anticipated Irish title fight in recent times fit and ready to fight.
Indeed, he went into hostile territory and won fight billed as a 50-50 affair within a round.
It was the perfect start to the new year for Cully, a fresh start and one that had roots in the focus and dedication he applied through troubled times last year.
“Just before I got injured my Ma got diagnosed with breast cancer so it was a tough year for us. She was battling but thankfully she beat it at the end of last year and we had a fresh start coming into this year so this belt is a great start to this year for us,” Cully said after the win.
“There was a lot of times where I could have gone off. I was injured at the time as well. It’s not that I didn’t have to be in the gym, but there was a reason for me not to be there, and then my mam got sick so I could have easily been out and acting the bollox, drinking and that, but I stuck with it. I have a vision in my head and I won’t stop until I get there,” Cully adds describing a long term focus that some have suggested may have been the ultimate difference between the two on the night.
Reflecting directly on the fight he admits the manner of the win was a surprise to him too.
“There were 12 hard weeks in the gym that led up to this but on the night it ended early. I prepare for 10 hard rounds, I was expecting to maybe break Joe down and stop him in the seventh or eight.”
The talk pre the fight was that despite being physically the smaller man Commonwealth Games medalist, Fitzpatrick would be the more powerful on the night.
‘The Dragon’ intimated as much himself and the new champion claims that was his opponents downfall.
“He was talking in the lead up to the fight about his power and I think he underestimated mine. That may have been his downfall, so I had a little thought in my head all week that if I catch him that it could be game over and that’s what happened.”
The 23-year-old giant for the weight southpaw also claims he got an inkling he was too strong for his fellow decorated former amateur early in the fight.
“I kind of knew (it would end early) we got into a clinch and I hit him with a short left hand to the body and he felt it. He reacted to it and I thought to myself I’m the stronger guy here. Joe had been bigging up his strength so, I don’t think he realized how strong I was going to be on the night and I think from the first bell I knew. I got to work and he kind of stepped off a little, and I knew it was going to be my night.”