The Nicaraguan represented a career-best opponent for McCullagh, who responded with a career-best performance. An opening round knockdown, followed by increasing domination from McCullagh saw referee John Lowey wave off the bout in the fifth. An odd, albeit understandable, decision as Tellez, who admittedly looked in no danger of being stopped, was throwing less and less and being hit more and more.
White Chocolate acknowledged afterwards that “they’re not happy with the stoppage but the referee said he wasn’t replying much and he was getting hit with a lot of shots. It’s the referee’s call at the end of the day.”
While there was confusion surrounding the stoppage, it should not take away from McCullagh’s performance. The Derry southpaw showed great shot-selection throughout and enjoyed facing a more aggressive opponent than in his previous four pro bouts. He described how “I like being taller than my opponent, as you know I was a counter puncher as an amateur, and I had that bit of reach on him. So I was landing the jabs every time and I was able to keep him at range and step in and land big shots whenever I wanted.”
“He’s the toughest opponent I’ve fought, he’s been in there with Josh Warrington and Stuart Hall. Josh Warrington stopped him in five, I stopped him in four.”
McCullagh is unsure what his immediate future holds, but he is eyeing belts. He explained how “I don’t know about the Irish title, I’d be delighted to win it but I’ll take an alternate route if needed, maybe the Celtic title, or British title, or European title, but I’m definitely aiming for big things.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)