Ryan Burnett fights for the IBF bantamweight world title this Saturday, and will be supported in more than one way by one of his old amateur clubmates.
Featuring on the undercard on the Sky Sports show at the SSE Odyssey Arena will be Tyrone McCullagh [6(4)-0].
The Derry super bantamweight used to be team mates with Burnett at the Holy Family club in Belfast, and ‘White Chocolate’ recalls how Saturday’s headliner was an “amazing talent.”
Both were top amateurs, with Burnett claiming Youth Olympic gold and World Youth silver in 2010 while McCullagh won European bronze in the same year.
McCullagh is backing Burnett to do the business on Saturday and told Irish-Boxing.com that “Me and Ryan have sparred a handful of times in Holy Family.”
“He’s an amazing talent with serious hand speed and completely motivated. I think he will do the job on Saturday by a wide points margin.”
Burnett tops the Matchroom bill on Saturday, with McCullagh fighting in a four rounder early on the card.
While preparations have gone well, there have been problems in the lead up to the fight for the 26 year old. Regardless, McCullagh is committed to putting on an assured performance.
The Foylesider faces Nicaraguan Jose Aguilar [16(6)-33(9)-4] who was recently stopped in the fourth by Rio Olympian Joe Cordina – although this wasn’t the original opponent.
McCullagh explained that “I only got a definite opponent yesterday I’ve had few people pull out so it’s been a bit of a nightmare but that’s boxing.”
“He’s tough and durable and has a lot of experience but, without taking anything for granted, I’m expecting to still have my 0 come the final bell.”
“Camp has gone really well. I’ve managed to stay relatively injury free and I feel as if I’m just peaking at the right time.”
“I have prepared for a six rounder and I’m slightly disappointed it’s not, but it’s just what I have been allocated.”
“I’m still very happy and very grateful to be on the show. It doesn’t really change my approach. I’ll stick to my instructions and fight at whatever pace needs to be but I’m super fit so I’ll just see how it goes when the bell rings.”
“I’m still learning as a pro so we’ve been working on a lot of things in the gym. Nobody’s perfect and there’s a lot of small mistakes I’m still making – but on Saturday I’m going to try and go out and enjoy it, box a bit more and not go too gung-ho.”
The Burnett-Haskins undercard at present also features an Irish cruiserweight title fight between Luke Watkins and Ian Tims, Feargal McCrory v Paul Holt, Paul Hyland Jr v Adam Dingsdale, James Tennyson v Ryan Doyle, and appearances from Matt Wilton, Paddy Gallagher, Padraig McCrory, and Sean Magee, as well as the return of Mike Perez.
Tickets for ‘Belfast Boy’ on June 10th at the SSE Odyssey Arena cost £30, £40, £60, £100, and £150 (VIP), and can be bought from the boxers involved (which we recommend, although today is the last day tickets are available from the fighters) or HERE.