Tyrone McCullagh hopeful of future World Title fight with TJ Doheny

Tyrone McCullagh [11(6)-0] will look to enter the WBO super bantamweight Top 15 this weekend but the Derry fighter has his eye on the red IBF belt.

McCullagh boxes BBBoC English champion Josh Kennedy [11(5)-0] on Friday night at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast in the headline fight of a BoxNation card.

A win for the BBBoC Celtic champion would see him claim the WBO European rankings belt and start him on a course towards champion Isaac Dogboe but McCullagh has anoter world champion in mind.

‘White Chocolate’ has suggested a future fight with IBF champion, countryman, and managerial stablemate TJ Doheny [20(14)-0].

The Portlaoise puncher won the belt in sensational fashion back in August, dethroning Ryosuke Iwasa in Japan, and McCullagh believes he could provide the perfect opposition for ‘The Power’.

Living in Australia and training in America, Doheny has yet to fight professionally in Ireland and McCullagh thinks he could offer a domestic world title option – although it would have to take place in Belfast, 250kms away from Doheny’s hometown, due to their managerial outfit’s self-imposed exile from the Republic of Ireland.

The ambitious McCullagh, a European bronze medallist, is keen to defeat his third undefeated fighter in a row and begin making a bee-line to world title fights.

The 28-year-old southpaw outlined how “I always want more so I plan to win this and then of course the end goal is a world title.”

“I’m competitive in everything I do and I hate to lose so I want to get to the top of boxing.”

“It’s a hair-raising thought and I’d love to fight for a world title.”

Explaining his Doheny reasoning, McCullagh described how “I know MTK Global has just signed TJ Doheny, who’s a world champion.”

“TJ has spent his whole career in Australia and it would be a great homecoming fight. He’s done very well for himself. It makes sense for him to defend his title back home and we’re with the same management now.”

“First, I’ve got to get past Kennedy and get that European title. This is a great show and the talent in Belfast at the moment is unbelievable.”

While not in the world rankings with the IBF, McCullagh is ranked #9 in the organisation’s ‘inter-continental’ ladder, and a win over Kennedy could see him further boosted.

Doheny is currently recovering from a broken thumb suffered in the Iwasa fight.

Having won the belt as a mandatory challenger, the Laois man is expected to be afforded a voluntary defence first, with Japanese puncher Tomoki Kameda angling for a shot.

A final eliminator between recent British champion Thomas Ward and former world title challenger Cesar Juarez was last month ordered by the IBF


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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