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The Fifth King! Gary Cully wants a lightweight crown

‘The Diva’ wants a crown!

Gary Cully [11(5)-0] is planning on becoming the fifth lightweight ‘king’ over the coming 12 months.

The lanky lightweight is ready to ‘explode’ onto the world scene and believes he is not too far off being discussed in the same breath as the latest quartet to be labeled the four kings – Teofimo Lopez, Ryan Garcia, Devin Haney, and Gervonta Davis.

The Irish champion is excited to be in such a talent-packed weight division and revealed he has a plan to ensure he becomes a bonafide lightweight name.

“I don’t believe I’m far off them. They’re the fights that I want to be involved in,” Cully responded when asked about the quartet of young fighters that are, perhaps prematurely, are being labelled the new ‘Four Kings’.

“I’m excited by the scenario, obviously there’ll be a lot of chopping and changing weights, etc but my plan is to explode onto the scene over there soon. Then let’s start talking about the top five rather than four, and get my name mentioned in the conversation with all these guys.”

The Kildare talent is well aware he won’t just inherit a crown. Cully won’t take a prince’s route to the throne he will have to stage a coup and win some hard battles along the way.

However, ‘The Diva’ believes he was born for the big stage and claims he will only get better as the challenges get bigger.

“Obviously we need the early learning fights to gain experience and learn on the job but I’ve always said the better the opponent the better I will be. The bigger the show and brighter the lights the better performances you’ll see. The more eyes on me the bigger performances.”

Working his way to a place in the division that James Tennyson is close to closing in on and the Sean McComb and Paul Hyland will also dream about, shouldn’t prove easy for Cully or any of the aforementioned.

Many argue that Wilfred Benitez belongs in the same grouping as Hagler, Hearns, Duran, and Leonard – and there will no doubt be many fighters looking to bridge the gap in the coming years.

There are some tough tests standing between the Pete Taylor-trained fighter and Lopez and co, not to mention some political boxing hoops to be jumped through.

Cully is confident he can pass those tests and in his mind, the pathway to the top isn’t overly complex.

The 25-year-old simplifies things when outlining his goals for 2021.

“The goals for this year? First to take home the WBO European title on March the 12th. After that, I wait for the newest edition of the rankings to come out, pick out someone who is in the 14 spaces ahead of me and get an offer made to them. Then get a fight made and keep rep/eating that process until there’s nobody left in front of me in the rankings.”

To ensure he can walk that predicted path Cully will have to defeat Viktor Kotochigov [12(5)-1(0)] to claim the WBO European ranking title on March 12.

The Kildare fighter trades leather with the Kazakh for a place in the governing body’s top 15 in Dubai.

Kotochigov represents a step up despite the fact he suffered a surprise defeat to the in-form Maxi Hughes last time out.

Cully argues that defeat makes his March 12 opponent a little more dangerous but remains confident of victory. Indeed the stylist reveals it’s a fight he pushed for, as he believes it allows him to showcase his capabilities.

“He’s good like I’ve said before technically well rounded, knows his way around the ring too. He is coming off his first career loss so will be gunning to take a good scalp and earn it back, you could call it a dangerous fight but it’s one I wanted and one I asked for before the offer came to me.”

“I asked for the offer to be made to him and wanted the fight made. I want to use this fight to show as I step up the levels how good I am.”

“Like I said he’s coming off the first loss of his career, two losses in a row doesn’t look good on anybody’s record, so he’ll be looking to pull it back. I think I’m on a rise to the top and don’t believe I can be stopped at the moment, I believe I’m a level above and will show it on March 12th”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 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: editoririshboxing@gmail.com