Gary Cully is the new lightweight champion of Ireland following a sensational performance in Belfast.
The Kildare slickster claimed the strap with a one-round destruction of local lad Joe Fitzpatrick on an #MTKFightNight at the famous Ulster Hall in the city’s centre.
Labelled one of the best Irish title match-ups of recent years, two of the island’s top prospects across all weights squared off in an early-career clash reminiscent of Steve Collins v Sam Storey in Boston back in 1988.
While Irish boxing fans found it hard to split the pair, Cully would steamroll his way to the win, dropping Fitzpatrick early before stopping the Divis fighter to buckle the green belt last held by Coalisland’s Feargal McCrory around his waist.
Cully had something of a frustrating 2019 following a strong finish to 2018. A nasty knuckle gash stunted the Sarto southpaw’s progression but he was back in the ring in October, defeating Danny Mendoza and entered tonight as a 1/4 favourite.
Underdog Fitzpatrick, on the other hand, came into the bout following a transformative 2019 where he re-found the fire under Boxing Ireland Promotions. The Commonwealth Games silver medallist headlined two cards at the Devenish, picking up the BUI Celtic in October with a stoppage win over Iago Barros.
— Boxing Tickets NI (@BoxingTicketsNI) January 31, 2020
The build-up had simmered nicely, with back-and-forths before the bout was signed, some barbs in the weeks leading in, and then a heated head-to-head yesterday. After all this, the hugely-anticipated was over within seconds.
While Cully was the home fighter promotionally, and brought a sizeable crowd from Naas, Belfast boy Fitzpatrick certainly had the crowd onside. The Immaculata boxer has Martin Lindsay as part of his training team and there certainly were shades of ‘The Mac Man’s’ famous 2009 British title win over Paul Appleby in the same building – with the Divis contingent creating a raucous atmosphere in the historic concert venue during the walk on.
Cully had all along noted that it would just be the two lefties in the ring and proved this, powering his way to the win in double-quick time.
Fitzpatrick began the more aggressively but was quickly hurt by the sharp counters of Cully and was sensationally put down by a long left hand from ‘The Diva’ and was caught again on the way down.
Nice knockdown by Cully pic.twitter.com/rGC30KYPBR
— ShayMyName (@ImShannonTho) February 1, 2020
‘The Dragon’ rose early and looked to hold on but the long shots of Cully were doing serious damage and Fitzpatrick continued to get caught. With nothing coming back and Fitzpatrick backed up to the ropes, referee David Irvine would jump in to crown Cully.
The statement-making win sees Cully improve to 10(5)-0 while the shell-shocked Fitzpatrick drops to 10(7)-1(1).
With a lack of ready-made challengers, as Ray Moylette seems focused on building in America, Cully will now look to move on to the next level. Fitzpatrick, who took comparatively little damage, will be able to rebuild quickly and certainly possesses the quality to do so.
— BoxingUnionOfIreland (@boxingunionIRL) February 1, 2020