Opponents turned teammates Joyce and Cully helping each other build to pro success

Just under two years ago they faced each other in the lightweight quarter finals of the Elite Senior Championships.

That night Gary Cully, still just a teenager, was left despondent, while split-decision winner by the narrowest of margins Davey Oliver Joyce would begin a journey that ended at the Rio Olympics.

Fast forward to 2017 and both are now gym-mates, making their way to Pete Taylor’s gym in Bray as they look to build pro careers.

Both fight tonight in Belfast on the ‘Danger at The Devenish’ card, with Cully making his eagerly anticipated debut, while Joyce steps into a pro ring for the first time.

While competition dictated that they were once rivals in the vest, the MTK stablemates are now helping each other towards success.

21 year old Cully already has a target, and told Irish-Boxing.com that “we’re both very hungry and determined fighters and we both want to succeed in this game so when you have someone with the same goal as yourself it makes it a lot easier.”

“Davey is soon going to be pushing for titles at super featherweight and I’m looking to build myself as a lightweight. I believe with the team we’ve got and with Pete behind us we can both win Irish titles at these weights within 12 months.”

There’s a friendly competitiveness between the pair and 30 year old Joyce noted how “it’s great to have Gary there pushing you in the sparring sessions, even in the running sessions, the bag sessions.”

“It’s motivation, when you see him training hard, you’re training hard – and it’s a bit of craic as well, I enjoy it.”

Naas southpaw Cully adds that “we stick to the same training program, we do the same running and strength sessions together so we push each other and get the best out of each other every day.”

“It’s obviously great to be training with a guy of Davey’s experience, he’s been around a long time and knows a lot about the game so he’s great to learn off.”

Then there are the sparring sessions, of course, and they sound as though they are a sight to behold – when they actually take place.

Mullingar’s Joyce recalled how “Pete said there last week, ‘we can’t have you two guys sparring every week, twice a week, because you’re killing each other in the gym!'”

Cully laughed at how “once every fortnight does the job!”

“We’ve had a couple of great spars and brought each other on as there is always that competitiveness too as we both have a winning and competitive mentality. All in good spirits though we’re just two competitive lads.”

A good knock is perfectly fine, and Joyce described how “that just goes to show that you’ve somebody there testing you in every spar and that’s a great thing to have somebody like that.”

gym trition

frayne carpentry

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