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No Hanging Around – Cully plans to slay Belfast Dragon and vacate Irish title

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Gary Cully [9(4)-0] will fulfil his first career goal on Saturday night and has pledged to instantly move on.

The Kildare fighter takes on Joe Fitzpatrick [10(7)-0] at the Ulster Hall for the Irish lightweight title and Cully has revealed that he won’t be hanging around at domestic level.

The Naas southpaw has stated that he will drop the green belt immediately, telling Irish-Boxing.com that “I have changed my mind. I will vacate on Sunday and let Joe fight for it in his next fight.”

It’s a first title chance for Cully versus the reigning BUI Celtic champ and one of the best, on paper, Irish title fights in many years. There have been suggestions that the rivalry could go on beyond this weekend.

Cully, though, does not intend on hanging around.

The Sarto slickster explained how “I want to move on. It was a step up I wanted a year and half ago and I finally got it, but when I win it I will vacate so I can step up. I’ll let someone else have their moment and progress their career.”

“Personally I don’t want to stay on the domestic scene too long I want to move onto European standard and be world ranked by the end of the year.”

“Look, it still means a lot. To be the champion of Ireland is a masssive thing for me. When I started out it was the first target. Being champion of my country and an amateur and a professional would be massive honour for me.”

It has been a testy enough build-up between the two lefties but Cully indicates that there’s no hard feelings between the pair.

Indeed, the lilywhite has a lot of respect for his fellow top prospect, noting how “I do believe he thinks he is the best lightweight in Ireland. He has belief in himself and that’s why he looked for it.”

“Then again, the fight was a bit difficult to make which makes you asks questions. In fairness to Joe I think that was down to his management. I think he always wanted it and I think he does believe he is the best lightweight in Ireland. I respect him for that.”

“I respect anyone who gets in the ring, but there are fighters who look to protect their records, Joe is obviously not one of those fighters. He wants to step up like I do. He wants to see where he is at and test himself, if he didn’t want to do that he wouldn’t have taken this fight. It’s the same for me. I respect him for that and I am sure he respects me for that.”

“We both want to prove ourselves.”

“This is a breakout fight and both of us would have been stupid not to take it. Some people have been saying we didn’t have to take at this stage of our careers, but the opportunity is massive. It’s prime time on ESPN+, we will fight in front of a sold out Ulster Hall, and the winner takes the Irish title and can go on to bigger things. “

While there is respect from Cully towards ‘The Dragon’, there are two talking points he took aim at – Fitzpatrick’s power and pull.

With a higher KO ratio and hailing from Belfast, Fitzpatrick is planning to overwhelm Cully but neither issue worries the former European Youth gold medallist.

Cully dismissively notes that “hopefully it is full for him so I can shut all his fans up. He can have 2,000 there if he wants, they can’t jump into the ring. I have done tickets too so I am bringing a crowd and I like I have said in a previous interview, Belfast is a fine fighting city, I have fought nine times there and I think the fans there respect me.”

“I don’t think there will be a big difference in terms of support. I think he is focusing too much on that he should focus on what is happening in the ring.”

“He said I won’t be able to handle his power. It’s boxing, we have eight ounce gloves on you don’t want to be getting hit by anyone, He is going to come in and he will be strong, so I’ll have to be switched on.”

“I have been sparring Luke [Keeler] and Tony McGlynn and the like and these are heavy hitters so if he thinks he is going to blow me away he may be making a mistake.”


Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com