Not that the Derry man is planning on losing the ranking belt on top of a Newcastle bill this weekend, rather he wants to vacate as he pushes toward a 2019 world title shot.
Securing that shot before the year is out may prove somewhat difficult as Danny Roman, who defeated TJ Doheny to become WBA and IBF title holder on Saturday, is on a unification mission and a clash with WBC champ Rey Vargas looks next on the cards and will tie up another title.
Emanuel Navarrete holds the strap with the WBO – the governing body McCullough is ranked 13th with – and defends the strap in a rematch with Isaac Dogboe on May 11th.
‘White Chocolate’ may call for a shot at the winner and considering Dogboe is managerially linked to him and signed to Top Rank, a fight with the London based Ghanaian looks easy to make.
However, regardless of the permutations, McCullagh wants to be seen to progressing toward his tilt if he manages to overcome Spanish champion Alvaro Rogriguez this weekend.
“It’s up to my management how many times I defend this belt. I love having it and being European champion but I do want a world title shot sooner rather than later so this could be my last defence,” McCullough mused.
McCullough passed two major tests in 2018 defeating the previously undefeated Joe Ham and Josh Kennedy in title fights.
Rodriguez’s record doesn’t suggest he will bring much more to the table than either of those rivals, but the boxing nurse reveals there is a different kind of pressure going into this fight.
The awkward southpaw knows he has a target on this back in the form of a title that brings a world ranking with it and is aware that will motivate the Spanish champion going into Friday night.
“There’s a lot of drive with any title fight but this is a very different situation to fighting for a vacant title now.”
“I’m the champion and he’s coming to dethrone me. It’s not going to happen because I’ve worked far too hard in this camp. The belt stays with me on Friday.”
The Foyleside puncher points also revealed he has been working on one specific improvement ahead of just his thirteenth fight. The 28-year-old is planning to slow things down somewhat and the defensive expert is promising a more relaxed showing.
“This camp, I’ve worked on relaxing a bit more. I don’t want to be a million miles an hour all the time. It works for me but I can save energy and be a bit more cute. I believe you’ll see a more relaxed version of me now.”