After defeating previously undefeated Scottish champ Joe Ham last time out to claim the Celtic title, ‘White Chocolate’ faces English belt holder Josh Kennedy [11(5)-0] at the Titanic Exhibition Centre.
Kennedy probably represents the toughest test of the Derry fighter’s career to date and comes into the fight with a near-identical record to McCullagh – who has been installed as a 1-4 pre-fight favourite.
The heavily-tattooed Kent fighter also shares parity with the former top amateur in terms of confidence and is certainly coming to Belfast with a victory in mind.
However, the BBBofC Celtic champ remains unperturbed and is adamant victory and the ranking title will be his, indeed he believes only some drastic mishap can cost him the win.
“It’s a great fight for this stage in my career. Josh Kennedy is another undefeated fighter. I know I can do it and barring an absolute disaster on Friday night I know I will do it,” McCullagh pledged.
“I think his game plan is to come and try and rough me up and draw me into a brawl but I’m too long in the game now to be getting involved in that.”
“The first couple of rounds I’d imagine will be fairly tight. It’s a 10 round fight so I have plenty of time. As the fight goes on, the fourth, fifth, six round I’ll take over and dominate.”
Earlier in the week the 2010 European bronze medallist claimed that victory, which should earn him a WBO Top 15 ranking, could put him on course to fight managerial stablemate and IBF champion TJ Doheny – and McCullagh is happy with how the name drop was received.
In fact, the Foylesider believes victory tonight will move him just two wins away from a possible Derry v Laois world title scrap.
McCullagh outlined how “first thing’s first and that’s taking care of business on Friday night. But I mentioned Doheny before and it’s making a bit of noise which is great to see. I’m sure TJ would be up for it as well.”
“He’s fought his whole career in Australia so it would be nice to get a fight for him back home. He’s from Laois and I’m from Derry so none of us are going to see our teams in an All-Ireland Final for a while so this is the next best thing maybe.”