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Down but not out – Tyrone McCullagh still sticking fingers up to the doubters

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It’s hard for Tyrone McCullagh to be positive in the immediate aftermath of his Golden Contract exit, but he is aware things are not as negative as some of his online detractors suggest.

The Derry fighter has been down in the days after he lost to tournament favourite Ryan Walsh in York Hall last weekend.

‘White Chocolate’ seemed to earn praise for his boxing ability in thed first half of the points reverse and the bravery and resolve he showed in the second half of the fight.

The awkward southpaw can’t take much solace in such praise at present, but the often questioned Pete Taylor trained fighter knows all to well he can’t listen to the online criticism that came his way post the reverse either.

Possibly more through the criticizing what you can’t understand prism, McCullagh does often get some online negativity. Indeed, he famously got it from his fellow awkward and unique approach advocate Johnny Nelson during his Golden Contract win.

However, he knows the kind of results his style can produce and is also seems aware of how well he performed in a talent packed tournament that played out above his natural ddweight.

“At the minute it’s hard to see anything positive but that’s probably natural, down the line I’d like to think that might change,” McCullagh told irish-boxing.com.

“I’ve read some terrible reports on me on boxing forums and so on, but the way I see it is, I moved up a weight, I went up several classes in opponent to anyone I’ve fought before, I won at least half the rounds but [Walsh’s] experience told in the end.

“That’s a man with 30 fights and ranked 2 in the world with the WBO. It was only my 15th fight. Pete [Taylor] has rang me and told me there’s a lot of positives to take from it and I am sure I will eventually.”

When reflecting directly on the Sky Sports broadcast semi final defeat directly, McCullagh retained his honesty.

The boxing nurse admits his fight plan ‘unraveled’ when he caught by a big right hand whilst looking to hold in the sixth round.

He felt he was in control up and until that point but suggests he never recovered from hitting the deck.

“I think it was a fight of two halves. I believe I won the first 5 with relative ease but things unraveled badly when he caught me in the sixth.

“I think the second knockdown was harsh he hit me a good shot but then pushed me to the ground. I have no grievances though the better man won on the night,” he adds before being pushed on the fight changing punch.

“No, never [been hurt like that], but I’d never been in with a a puncher like Walsh. I knew I was going to take some big shots but it’ll stand to me. I stepped up a weight class and went the distance with a man who’s stopped some big names.”

The former BBBofC Celtic champ at super bantam was down twice in the fight, but he believes he showed his chin and grit under pressure in the closing rounds.

“I’d never been hit anywhere close to that before so it’s good to know I can take it. There wasn’t a chance I was giving up. He hit me some big shots but my head was always clear. ”

One half of the always upbeat Two Tyrone double acts admits he is too down and even tired to be thinking about specific next move plans.

The 28-year-old southpaw will allow give his mind and body a rest and allow himself time to process a first career defeat before exploring or discussing future plans.

“I’m taking a small break. I’ve pretty much been in camp since last August or so. My body and mind need 2 or 3 weeks off,” he answers emphatically.

“The defeat has hit me very hard, I know nobody like to be beat but these last couple of days have been U.K. there with some of the worst I’ve had. When my break is up I’ll sit down with Pete and my management and see what’s next.”


Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com