Tyrone McCullagh goes the distance at the National Stadium

Tyrone McCullagh went the distance for the first time in his career on ‘The Future’ card at the National Stadium last night

‘White Chocolate’ took on Latian Aleksandrs Birkenbergs on the FS Promotions/Hatton Promotions show and outpointed the awkward Baltic boxer over four rounds (40:36).

McCullagh was returning to the National Stadium for the first time since he became Ireland’s last ever amateur flyweight champion.

Having turned down a trip to Euro 2016 for this fight, the Derry boxer was given a tough fight by the unorthodox Birkenbergs in a scrap that lasted longer than McCullagh’s three bouts combined.

The fight began well for the Irishman, who avoided the wild swings of Birkenbergs and landed plenty of fizzing counters in return. The second was more of the same but the stubborn journeyman, who looked in trouble numerous times, hung on well.

McCullagh slipped to the canvas in the third round and, perhaps discombobulated, the round became more of a toe-to-toe scrap.

Searching for his fourth consecutive knockout, the European bronze medalist pushed in the final round but the exhausted Birkenbergs, to his credit, survived.

The win sees McCullagh improve his record to 4(3)-0, while Birkenbergs falls to 3(3)-5(3).

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