Tyrone McCullagh warns ‘nervous’ pet panda about getting over excited after Golden Contract win

‘Just Dave’ the Panda has been celebrating Tyrone McCullagh’s Golden Contract quarter final win all week and is getting excited at the prospect of meeting his sponsor – and ‘White Chocolate’ isn’t going to let him down.

The Derry fighter came to the ring with Tyrone McKenna dressed as a panda and with his shorts decorated with pictures of the endangered animal on Friday.

McCullagh wants to raise awareness of the panda plight and his motivation for victory is his pet panda ‘Just Dave’.

Winning the tournament outright would earn the southpaw a massive contract with a massive promoter- rumoured to be Top Rank- and give boxing nurse the financial capability to visit ‘Just Dave’ in China.

McCullagh told Irish-boxing.com his pet was delighted to see him defeat Razaq Najib live on Sky and ESPN+ last weekend, but the panda owner has words of caution, warning the job is only one third done.

“Just Dave is good, he gets very nervous for my fights and can’t watch them, but he was buzzing with the result and is looking forward to me coming over to see him when I win.

“In saying that there is more to do. I’m delighted to be in the semis, it’s great to get the win and the momentum going, but it’s only 1/3 of the job done, so I’ll not settle for it. I want to go the whole way.”

Having only found out who he was facing on Tuesday – thanks to the unique draw system applied by MTK – McCullagh was had to deal with late notice opposition for the second time in a week, as Mexican Carlos Araujo pulled out on weigh in day.

Reserve Najib stepped up to the plate and McCullagh confirmed the change didn’t lead to any real worries.

“I only found out who I’d be boxing on the Tuesday so 3 days notice or 1 day it doesn’t change much. Don’t get me wrong on paper Razaq was the easier fight, but credit to him he gave it his all and he was preparing for a fight on that bill anyways so it’s not like it was last minute for him.”

The Danny Vaughan trained fighter came away with a relatively easy points victory winning by 97-93, 98-92, 96-94 scoreline.

He wasn’t willing to publicly admit it was an easy nights work, but did suggest he was unhappy with the judge who scored it just two rounds in his favour.

“No disrespect to him, like I said he gave it his all, but I was always in control, I said to myself going out for the 9th I’ll take this round off and not throw anything and to me that’s the only round I lost, so where one judge got 96-94 from I’ll never know, but that score seem to be the norm in my fights these days.”

The Derry fighter also remained politically correct when discussing his semi final options. He could be pitted against British title holder Ryan Walsh, Commonwealth champion and Davey Oliver Joyce defeater Leigh Woods or Jazza Dickens.

Who he gets he doesn’t bother him because in his opinion all four operators of note.

“They are all top top lads so I don’t mind who I get because no matter who it will be a tough fight.”

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