Gary Cully is quickly transitioning from a prospect to watch out for to a must watch.
The Kildare fighter followed up his knockout Irish title win over Joe Fitzpatrick with a get off the floor victory over Craig Woodruff in Wakefield tonight.
The Pete Taylor trained Irish lightweightchampion was sensational in part, confident, and comfortable for seven of the eight rounds against what, on paper, was meant to be a test.
However, he showed a degree of vulnerability when he was dropped heavily and had his nerve tested in the fifth.
To his immense credit the Naas favourite regrouped well, passed a first career gut check and learnt a valuable lesson.
Phil Edwards’ 77-75 score card seemed a bit close, but southpaw Cully got a deserved win in another entertaining fight.
Former Welsh title challenger, Woodruff came to fight and was looking for work from the first round, but Cully used that Irish amateur check hook well and was able to punish his opponent enough to take round.
Some early backhands from the Sarto southpaw saw him start the second impressive and enabled him to find his rhythm. A sprinkle of class via footwork and another spin off long hook had Woodruff rolling his eyes, before some brilliant combination accuracy continued to give ‘Smiler’ little to smile about.
It was more single shots in the third from Cully who countered well in another round with flashes of class.
Woodruff, who came into the fight on the back of two knockout wins, was still coming forward, but his frustration levels were rising.
The fourth played out similar as it looked like Cully was toying with his foe. It now appeared a gear change from the Irish lightweight champion could get him a stoppage win.
However, possibly drawing inspiration from Alexander Povetkin or Zelfa Barrett, the Welsh fighter pulled a big shot out of the bag, sending Cully on the seat of his pants with a chopping right hand.
‘The Diva’ looked in real trouble, but somehow managed to regroup and finished the round with a brilliant extended combination that looked to hurt his foe.
Normal service was resumed in the sixth as the man Pete Taylor compares to Tommy Hearns out boxed the Welsh native over three minutes.
Woodruff’s corner were calling for the knockdown between the round sand he did seem to push in the seventh, but again he struggled with the southpaws footwork and superior skills set. The eighth proved similar as ‘The Diva’ saw out a fight that threatened to go wrong with relative ease.