Stronger Gary Cully ready to make major step up on Mick Conlan Homecoming bill

This day next week Gary Cully [4(2)-0] will have the biggest fight of his young career.

Stepping up to six rounds for the first time, the Naas lightweight takes a major jump up in class when he faces Hungarian dangerman Zoltan Szabo [24(10)-12(4)] on the Mick Con.

The Budapest boxer almost always causes prospects problems and has pulled off a number of shocks – most famously against Dublin lightweight Stephen Ormond. All of Szabo’s stoppage defeats have come at light welterweight and he has only lost every round once – to Olympic champ Daniyar Yeleussinov earlier this month.

It’s an extremely encouraging and progressive move for 22-year-old Cully who enters the bout following the longest camp of his career.

It’s been constant training for the lilywhite who saw a fight in Liverpool in March fall through. Sparring has come in the form of stablemates Luke Keeler and Davey Oliver Joyce, amateur prospect Pierce O’Leary, and top Scot Lewis Benson among others and southpaw Cully is feeling better than ever.

The youngster’s strength, especially, is building as he adjusts to the pro game and fills into his substantial frame.

Cully explained how “I’m coming to the end of a good strength programme. I had amateur pedigree and a lot of skill but my strength used to be behind.”

“I was being pushed around a bit by guys my own weight. Now I’ve had time to work on my strength rather than be concerned about getting weight off.”

“This time around we’ve had a good 12-week camp so my strength has gone through the roof and I’m pushing guys around now.”

“I’m getting more rounds in and my muscle endurance has improved massively. We’ve been doing structured weight programmes as a team but they’re all personalised for what each fighter needs.”

With the unfortunate withdrawal of Paddy Gallagher from his fight with recent world title challenger Gary Corcoran, it would seem to make sense that Cully’s clash with Szabo to be bumped up the card and elevated to the live TV broadcast.

If so, it would be a TV debut for the rangy fighter who is certainly a bit different to most.

Cully, who stands at 6’2″, noted how “I’m sure I have to be the tallest lightweight around. There was nobody taller in the amateurs and I haven’t heard of any pros either.”

“The weird thing is, I could probably even make super-featherweight.”

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


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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: