Tyrone McCullagh [13(6)-0] has no issue with drawing fellow Irish fighter Davy Oliver Joyce [11(8)-0] in the first round of the Golden Contract tournament.
The Derry and West Meath fighters are two of eight featherweights who will battle it out knockout tournament style to land a two-year, five-fight deal with one of the world’s leading promoters – rumoured to be Top Rank- that guarantees six-figure purses for every fight along with global exposure.
From an Irish fans perspective the ideal scenario would be for the pair to avoid each other until the decider, but ‘White Chocolate’ doesn’t necessarily hold that view.
With the unique week before draw format the Irish duo could already be destined to fight each other in the featherweight quarterfinals set for York Hall and October 4.
It that was the case it wouldn’t upset the Derry City southpaw, he is taking a ‘let the best man win’ approach whether an all Irish fight was to take place the first fight or the final.
“I don’t necessarily mind drawing him at any stage. I’m not saying I want to fight him… I respect Davy he done amazing in the amateurs and is killing so far in the pros, but there is no easy fights in there -unless TJ (Doheny) is named as one of the final two – so if I get Davy in the first fight or in the final then so be it, let the best man win.”
While Irish fight fans will be hoping for Irish success in the tournament, such is the mentality of a fighter and such is the opportunity that the boxing nurse is always going to be selfish.
McCullagh knows what is at stake and is determined to ensure he is the one to collect the big ‘life changing’ contract via three wins.
“This is a huge huge opportunity. If it goes well it’ll change my whole life, It’s why I accepted it because it’s also a huge risk with the calibre of fighters that are in it. But I’m not in boxing to have a nice record I’m in it to fight the best their is and that’s what this competition is all about.”
The 28-year-old is known as one of the most awkward operators on the Irish circuit. His unique style often frustrates and that can prove difficult to prepare for.
The fight week draw element of this contest mixed with his approach to the fight game may make him the one most want to avoid in the quarters.
That fighter himself doesn’t see it that way and he also isn’t too bothered with regard to who he draws, claiming he pays little attention to opponents he knows he will face 10 weeks out.
“Well it’s different to say the least,” he adds of the nature of the draw.
“I don’t know what to make of it. I don’t really watch too much of my opponents anyway I leave that to my coach. I am awkward, yes, but I don’t know if it’ll give me that much or any advantage,” he continues before predicting tournament victory and some big celebrations.
“I predict I’ll win it, blow the prize money on Indians and Guinness and fight out my 5 fighcontract at heavyweight.”
The first fighters announced for the featherweight division were British champion and WBO no. 6 Ryan Walsh, Commonwealth champion and IBF no. 15 Leigh Wood and unbeaten WBA no. 7 Hairon Socarras.
They were then joined by IBF European champion and IBF no. 9 Jazza Dickens, unbeaten WBO European featherweight champion and WBO no. 11 David Oliver Joyce, and unbeaten WBO European super-bantamweight champion and WBO no. 8 Tyrone McCullagh.
The remaining two fighters in the featherweight division are set to be named in the near future.