By Nathan Orr, follow Nathan on Twiiter @OrrzBoxing
After a fourteen year wait, boxing is returning to the Waterfront Hall with Cyclone Promotions sealing a multi fight deal at the historic venue. Upcoming Shankill featherweight Marc McCullough (9-0-1) is set to step into Belfast’s boxing spotlight by headlining against Martin Parlagi (14-0-0).
Barry McGuigan’s Cyclone Promotions have shown the faith they hold in the Shankill fighter, not only presenting him with a shot at the WBO European title but the headline platform to go alongside it. 24 year old McCullough, in an exclusive interview admitted that headlining his own bill is an experience he is yet to come to terms with.
“To be honest when the announcement was made it was a shock, headlining at the Waterfront Hall sums up why I turned professional. At the press conference it was strange seeing all the press there for me and not Carl Frampton. Usually Carl is the main attraction and I am in the background, but this time, it is all on me and that is all the more nerve-wracking”
McCullough in the past has grown used to being in Belfast star Carl Frampton’s shadow, featuring on the undercard of the world title contender’s last three fights. Despite this, his own hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed, McCullough made Irish fans sit up and take notice with a 9th round stoppage victory over World title challenger Willie Casey. By capturing the Irish Featherweight title, Marc feels that it has allowed his career to truly come into fruition.
“Capturing the Irish Featherweight title helped me get my name out there and let people know who I was. Defeating Willey Casey has allowed my profile to get bigger and bigger, my career has took off since then.”
Following his career best performance, the Shankill fighter signed with Ireland’s leading promotional outfit: Cyclone Promotions.
McCullough’s upcoming fight has a sense of déjà vu about it, as in his last contest, the Shankill fighter was stripped of the chance of competing for the WBO European title only a matter of hours before the scheduled contest. Scheduled opponent Amor Belahdj Ali pulled out with a failed brain scan, leaving McCullough without the chance of claiming his 3rd professional title. The Shankill man admits that he was “gutted” at the unforeseen circumstances which led to him fighting without a competitive title on the line.
“I got the phone call a few hours before the fight and was told that my opponent pulled out, I didn’t even know if I wanted to fight to be honest. I had my mind set that I was fighting for the WBO European title, just for it to be taken away was devastating.”
Despite the disappointment, McCullough showed maturity for his age, acting in a professional manner under tough circumstances by getting the stoppage victory against Slovakian journeyman Elemir Rafael.
Now on the 20th of June, Marc has the opportunity to get his own personal revenge and claim the title he feels he so badly deserves. Although in his way stands Czech Republican boxer Martin Parlagi, a tough unbeaten fighter who McCullough is not underestimating.
“In his amateur career he has 210 fights with 190 wins, which is a good amateur record. He has a good pedigree overall! In his professional career he’s got knockouts in the early rounds, so he must be a puncher as well. It’s a dangerous fight. He’s coming here to win, not just to show up.”
Marc McCullough would like to thank his sponsors Randox Health and Gordon Watters Dental Laboratory for their continued support ahead of his 20th of June WBO European title fight.