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KO Cully – Gary Grabs WBO European Belt With Stunning Stoppage

Gary Cully is the new WBO European lightweight champion following a sensational win in England tonight

Chief support to Lewis Crocker v Deniz Ilbay on an #MTKFightNight at the Bolton Whites Hotel, the Irish champion claimed his second career belt with a second round stoppage of Viktor Kotochigov.

The Kazakh former prospect barely landed a glove on the Kildare stylist and was put down for the count in just the second round of what was being packaged as a big test for Cully.

It was Cully’s first fight since his win over former Welsh champ Craig Woodruff last August. A fifth-round knockdown in this light welterweight bout perhaps hushed some of the buzz which had been built by the February knockout Irish title win over Joe Fitzpatrick but Naas man Cully reignited this in fabulous fashion here.

While not an amateur of note, Kotochigov had fought his way to pro prominence with appearances all over Eurasia. Having linked up with MTK in 2019 as their first Kazakh signing, Kotochigov swiftly claimed the WBC International rankings title but would lose the this belt in a Dubai upset to Maxi Hughes last October.

In hindsight, Hughes was the much more skilled fighter and was able to continuously hurt Kotochigov and send him to the B-side of tonight’s card. While the Central Asian remained a threat on paper, Cully and his team were planning an explosive performance – and, boy, did he deliver.

The Sarto southpaw began quickly, spearing out straight shots and making an early dent on Kotochigov.

Warmed up nice and quickly, Cully was catching the Kazakh as he waded in – with short uppercuts inside looking particularly meaty. However, it was a simple one-two that put Kotochigov down. Heavily. The brawler, who fell from a height, tried to rise but twice flailed and failed as the bout was waved off to seal a statement win.

The quickfire stoppage sees 25-year-old Cully improve to 12(6)-0 while the shell-shocked Kotochigov falls to 12(5)-2(1)

The eye-catching win should see Cully enter the WBO Rankings and could be considered a first step towards current beltholder Teofimo Lopez – and indeed any of the high-profile young talents at 135lbs. While there are plenty more hurdles to climb first, heads will have been turned tonight.

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