‘I must break you’ – Irish Ivan Drago about to be unleashed on the pro scene

He has been compared to Tony Bellew by manager Dave Coldwell, but it’s one ‘Ivan Drago’ Paul McCullagh aspires to be.

The big punching Belfast fighter finally makes his debut on a #MTKFightNight at Production Park Studios in Wakefield on Ocotber 18 – and has promised Irish fight fans a Drago style performance.

The reigning Ulster heavyweight champion isn’t quite as stoic as the fictional Rocky character or as scary outside of the ring, but he does compare physically and possibly more importantly has a reputation as a fierce puncher.

As a result he feels comfortable and confident enough to take the ‘Drago’ ring moniker.

Speaking to Irish-boxing.com the young prospected promised : “The fans can expect an exciting Paul McCullagh – The Irish Drago.”

McCullagh revealed he was turning over in January but saw two proposed debut dates fall victim through, so he was delighted to be handed a fight next month.

“I’m happy to have a date 100% confirmed. I’ve had two previous dates and they fell threw for me. Honestly it’s just time to get in and do the business now, it’s a long time coming.”

The prolonged wait has given McCullagh time to work on adapting to a more pro style.

The Belfast prospect has been training non stop out in Lanzarote alongside the likes of Francy Luzoho and Lee Reeves and under the watchful eye of former Irish champion Jonathan O’Brien.

The work put in and things learnt have made the wait for the debut more bearable explains the 20-year-old: “From January I’ve been training until now, working on my craft and adapting to the pro style. It’s a blessing in disguise because I’ve had a lot of time to build and get stronger,” he adds before explaining what exactly he has been working on.

“I’ve always been able to box and move and counter punch but I neglected that in the amateurs. When I boxed on the back foot I never got the decisions so I always boxed aggressively and a little sloppy. I’ve worked a lot on the jab angles slips and turns.”

Recent #MTKFightNight debutants James McGivern and Fearghus Quinn in particular, were handed though six round debuts. An opponent has yet to be confirmed for ‘The Irish Drago’, nor has the length of the fight, but McCullagh is laid back in that regard.

“I’m not looking for any specific opponent or level I leave that up to my manager and coach I do the hard work in the gym. All I predict is a win I’m going out to enjoy my debut getting behind the jab.”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com