New Year’s Resolutions: Tyrone McCullagh targets Scottish scrapper for Celtic title

Derry super bantamweight Tyrone McCullagh [5(4)-0] has a title, and opponent, in mind as he looks forward to a potentially breakthrough 2017.

An impressive past year saw ‘White Chocolate’ fight and win thrice in Ireland, including a step-up stoppage win over Nicaraguan Edwin Tellez.

While he would have wanted to be slightly more active, the 26 year old southpaw has big, big plans for the next year.

Reflecting on 2016, McCullagh described how “I’m happy-ish. I got three wins and two knockouts so, results-wise, I’m happy. I would have like to been a bit more busy with 1 or 2 more fights but they didn’t materialise. Although I’m expecting a busy 2017

McCullagh wants this busy 2017 to end with a belt around his waist. While he would love to fight for the Irish 122lbs title last held by Dublin’s Paul Hyland, the Foylesider knows that this is unlikely. Therefore, it is the BBBoC Celtic title and a chance to move into British title contention that appeals to him – and McCullagh already has an unbeaten fellow prospect in his sights.

The former Elite amateur, a 2010 European bronze medalist, outlined how “I’m looking forward to 2017, as I say I hope to be busy. I’d like to get five or six fights in this year and 100 percent I want to win my first title. As to what title, I’m not sure. I don’t know if there is any super bantamweights to fight for the Irish title I know there is TJ Doheny but with him being away that doesn’t make sense. I think Mick Conlan will campaign at super bantamweight, but he’ll be based mostly in America as well – and, if we did cross paths again, ideally it’d be for a more prestigious belt down the line.”

“So maybe the BBBoC Celtic title would make the most sense to go for. There’s a Scottish lad, my weight, called Joe Ham [10(5)-0], who’s also undefeated. I think we’d be eligible to fight for that if the opportunity presented itself.”

McCullagh acknowledges that it would be a big jump, but feels he is putting the hard yards in in the gym and is ready to be pushed.

“I haven’t actually went six rounds yet, with my first and only six rounder being stopped in the fourth. So even that is a bit of uncharted territory, but I’m ready for the step up to eight and ten rounds when it comes. I felt I was ready for eight rounds in my last fight so I’ll just put in the work in the gym and take it from there, but I am coming for my first title this year!” he concluded

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

Joe O’Neill and Gavan Casey look ahead to 2017 in episode 1 of The Irish Boxing Show

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