By: Michael Kane
Tyrone McCullagh is a slick, awkward boxer from Derry, Ireland. He won the WBO European title last month in Belfast. McCullagh (12-0, 6 KOs) put on a great performance to beat English Champion Josh Kennedy for the belt.
Boxing Insider caught up with Tyrone to discuss his recent wins, rejecting the chance to fight for a British title and more.
If you have never watched McCullagh fight, I would advise you to check him out. He fights with a style not often seen, similar in a way to Naseem Hamed, hands down at times, using his quick movement and agility to keep out of range, then peppers his opponent in quick bursts.
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This is exactly what he done to win the WBO European title and as the fight went on you could see Josh Kennedy become more frustrated by each passing round.
How did McCullagh feel about his performance?
“I was delighted with it,” he said, ” I’m usually a bit over critical with myself when I look back at fights but I don’t think I lost a round. That one judge who had it 96-94, I really don’t know, he must have been a relation of Josh and he still couldn’t give it to him! My coaches and the rest of my team were happy and that’s the main thing.”
Did McCullagh expect to be so dominant in the fight?
“Yeah, I always knew I was the better boxer and I just needed to perform on the night and I’d be ok. I knew he was going to come walking forward and I wouldn’t have to go looking. I just boxed and moved and listened to my corner.”
The fight in October was McCullagh’s second title fight in a row, having defeated Scotland’s Joe Ham to win the Celtic title, in what was also a British Eliminator.
However McCullagh is not interested in fighting for a British title, coming as he does from Northern Ireland, the people there can decide to be British, Irish or citizens of both.
McCullagh explains, “Nope not at all, I am Irish, I’m not British, why would I fight for a British title? I’ve turned it down twice this year.”
He continues to say, “What I will say is that it’s nothing against the British people. I have good friends in Britain but it’s my beliefs no one else’s, and if people choose not to respect that them so be it.”
Having had a taste of picking up titles, McCullagh wants to get more, with a world title the aim.
“I want a world title, obviously not in my next fight but soon. I’ve had a great year and I’m going to build on that next year.
“I believe I can win a world title and I think I’ll be in a position to fight for one this time next year.”
McCullagh is also a trained nurse does he still find the time to do some shifts?
McCullagh said, “Not as much, it’s had to take a back seat this year. I’ve had two 10 week training camps back to back for my two title fights this year and it’s just too much to ask to work on top of that. I try and squeeze the odd shift here and there but it’s few and far between. Nursing will always be there for me after boxing and will always have a place in my heart.”
When asked who has been his biggest influence, McCullagh was quick to answer.
“My dad. He’s helped me from day one, drove me all over the country. He’s given me whatever money I’ve needed for trips and competitions when I was younger. He took me training every night, which was a 60 mile round trip and been to all my fights.”
So what was it that made McCullagh take up boxing to start with?
He said, “I was a fat kid when I was younger and needed to lose weight. I’m still a fat kid at heart but I have to limit how often he gets out but when he does he makes the most of it!”