Tyrone McCullagh slams TJ Doheny – believes he would “embarrass” the World Champ

Tyrone McCullagh [12(6)-0] claims he has lost “all respect” for world champion TJ Doheny.

The Derry super bantamweight has mentioned the IBF beltholder from Portlaoise as a target as he heads into 2019 off he back of a break-out year.

McCullagh defeated both the Scottish and English champions in 2018 and, now ranked #13 with the WBO, wants to progress quickly to world level.

Doheny [21(15)-0], who defended his belt for the first time last night versus Ryohei Takahashi in New York, is said to have been annoyed by the suggestions.

It has been reported by the Derry Journal that Ireland’s only reigning male world champion said that it was “just embarrassing” to be mentioned alongside “such an inexperienced fighter”.

In a rather tasty interview with the outlet, conducted before the Takahashi fight, McCullagh launched a verbal salvo at ‘The Power’.

The European bronze medallist stated that that he has lost respect for the champion and promised that he would embarrass him in the ring if the two were ever to fight – although he is not confident that he will get the chance.

READ: Tyrone McCullagh hits back at ‘embarrassing’ TJ Doheny jibes

‘White Chocolate’ believes Doheny’s alleged reaction to the suggestion of the match-up has been extreme and indicative of the Laois southpaw not wanting to face him.

McCullagh notes how “anytime I’ve mentioned his name I’ve said there’s been no bad blood between us or anything like that and I’m not trying to start a slagging match but I’d love to fight him down the line. It would end up being the first all-Irish world title fight.”

“But when he says it’s embarrassing to be linked with me, I think that’s because he’s trying not to take the fight.”

“He might be saying that because he doesn’t want the fight but I can tell you I’m not far off him and I’ll embarrass him as soon as I get the chance to fight him.”

With McCullagh feeling that Doheny doesn’t want the fight, it’s not a match-up the 28-year-old envisions happening.

Add to this that 32-year-old Doheny looks set to take on WBA champion Danny Roman in a unification in LA in April, McCullagh doesn’t see the Oz-based puncher holding onto the belt for much longer.

He noted how “I’ve seen that Eddie Hearn is talking about unifying the belts with a fight against Danny Roman and I couldn’t see TJ retaining it against him.”

Doheny or not, McCullagh is keen to fight for a world belt – perhaps in only one fight’s time.

A defence of his WBO European belt could bolster his rankings and put him in the frame for a shot at new champion Emmanuel Navarrete 

“I have my eyes on a world title without a doubt,” he stated.

“I need to keep on winning in the meantime. I hope to be out again at the end of March so if I get a good win there then there’s no reason why I can’t fight for a world title.”

Who and where McCullagh fights next remains to be seen – although the bill at the Ulster Hall on Friday March 29th has been suggested

Promotional and management outfit Boxing Ireland had previously proposed that their man, Irish super bantamweight champion Carl McDonald [5(0)-2(0)], could fight McCullagh in March but this idea was dismissed quite strongly by the Foylesider who feels he is levels above the Dub.

Boxing Ireland chief, Leonard Gunning, saw irony in McCullagh’s recent interview – even citing the Alanis Morisette hit.


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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