Ulster Elite Champion joins the professional ranks

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2019 National Elite light heavyweight semi finalist Paul McCullagh has joined the paid ranks.

The Belfast fighter has elected to turn over and thus becomes the second young amateur to announce his pro intention in 2020 – following in the footsteps of St Michael Inchicore’s Ryan O’Rourke.

McCullagh will relocate to Lanzarote to train in all things non vest as he prepares for a yet to be confirmed debut date.

The reigning Ulster heavyweight champion, who will most likely operate as a light heavy as a pro, has yet to sign a managerial or promotional contract, but is expected to confirm a link up in that regard very soon.

The St John Bosco graduate has teamed up with trainer Jonathan O’Brien and will work alongside Celtic Clash 10 participant Francy Luzoho under the guidance of the former Irish middleweight champion.

McCullagh comes from good boxing stock considering his father of the same name is a former Irish champion and current BBBofC referee. The Belfast man’s grandfather is the late great respected coach Paul McCullagh and his uncle Frankie is a three in a row Ulster heavyweight champ.

Indeed, the new to the pro scene fighter sparked emotional scenes when he won the title his uncle once held via knockout in the Ulster Hall last year.

That title win persuaded the fighter, who paid homage to his father and Gerrard McCafferty upon announcing his decision to turn over, to have another go at the national success.

He came up short in a very competitive division losing out to eventual champion Emmett Brennan at the semi final stage, but only after he was in the most entertaining fight of the entire tournament.

The 19-year-old and Cork’s Tommy Hyde, who is also rumoured to be considering his pro options, went to war for three quarter final rounds earning themselves an Irish-boxing.com Fight of the Year nomination.

When and where McCullagh will debut remains to be seen, but he is expected to be out in the spring or early Summer.

dpg

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 sport for a living for 19 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: [email protected]