PET PANDA ‘Just Dave’ McCullagh’s Golden Contract inspiration

‘Just Dave,’ Tyrone McCullagh’s pet panda is his inspiration going into the Golden Contract tournament.

The Derry fighter is already noted for having Irish boxing’s uniquest style, his approach to the sport and training is also somewhat standout, as by all accounts is his sense of humour.

Now the ever-surprising Golden Contract hopeful can go down as the fighter with the most bizarre of victory incentives.

Whilst his seven competitors give family security or a desire to prove they are the best as the reasons they are hell bent on winning the tournament and collecting a five fight six figure sum contract as a result, McCullagh [13(6)-0] was talking about his pet panda.

Attending Wednesday’s final press conference resplendent in a panda-themed shirt, ‘White Chocolate’ explained he wants to secure victory so he can finally go and visit ‘Just Dave’.

“I’m a big fan of pandas and they’re an endangered species. According to a census a few years ago, there are only 1800 left,” McCullagh explained.

“I’m trying to raise awareness and I encourage people to sponsor a panda. I came home one night and I saw the advertisement for people to sponsor a panda. I jumped at the chance!

“Now, I’m the proud owner of ‘Just Dave’. That’s the name of the panda I’ve sponsored since last year. This is why I want to win the tournament. When I win the tournament, I’m going to use some of the money to go over to China and meet ‘Just Dave’.”

To win the tournament outright, the boxing nurse first has to get through this Friday’s quarter-finals.

The Derry City fighter found out he will face hard hitting Mexican Carlos Araujo [15(12)-1] live on Sky Sports at the York Hall as recent as Tuesday.

Araujo was keen to let McCullagh know he had drawn a ‘real Mexican’ and was in for a tough night, but speaking at the final press conference on Wednesday the 29-year-old laughed off the threat.

Derry’s ‘White Chocolate’ (13-0, 6 KOs) takes on fearsome Mexican Carlos Araujo in Friday’s quarter-finals at York Hall – live on Sky Sports in the UK in association with Matchroom and live on ESPN+ in the US in association with Top Rank.

“He’s underestimating me being a Paddy. He’s going to come out bombing but I’ll already be behind him on the other side of the ring. He won’t know what’s happening!”

Joining McCullagh vs. Araujo on a huge night at the home of British boxing are other quarter-final match-ups in Leigh Woods vs. Davey Oliver Joyce, Hairon Socarras vs. Ryan Walsh and Jazza Dickens vs. Carlos Ramos.

A busy undercard stars the likes of Randal Barlow, Mitchell Frearson, George Fox, Sam Gilley and the Golden Contract reserve clash between Jacob Robinson and Razaq Najib.

Jonny Stapleton contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 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: