By Nathan Orr
Marc McCullough (10-1) overcame the toughest fight of his career against Martin Parlagi (14-1) to claim the WBO European Featherweight title last Fri night.
Before the fight, the Shankill man claimed he needed a hard ten round fight to prepare him for the toughest fights in the division. McCullough may have got more than he bargained for in the form of the tough and relentless Martin Parlagi.
After the ten round contest, relief was the emotion which overcame the new WBO European Featherweight champion. “I’m just glad to get the ten rounds under my belt, it will benefit me in the long run. I got drawn into a fight which also happened with Willie Casey. When I am inside the ring I start to think I am this big puncher. I had a boxing game plan to start off with, but as soon as punches were traded that went out the window.”
From the first bell, the Czech Republican showed that he intended to upset the odds, dragging McCullough through the darkest depths of his career in the early rounds. In the fourth stanza, McCullough tasted the first knockdown of his career, but rallied with the help of the home crowd to walk away with a unanimous decision victory.
“He caught me with a cracking left hook but after the eight count I was back to normal, it was just a flash knockdown. Although the left hook was the punch I never saw coming. I was doing stupid things but it’s a learning curve for me. After that hard test, I’m now ready for anyone,” said McCullough.
In only his 11th professional fight, promoter Barry McGuigan made the decision to provide the Waterfront Hall as McCullough’s headline platform. The brave move paid off as after the fight McGuigan seemed not only pleased about his fighter’s performance, but enthused about what the future holds.
“It was always going to be a very difficult fight for him. When the Parlagi fight was proposed he didn’t hesitate, that shows how courageous and talented this kid is. You get to a level where you have to show a bit of bottle and I believe he showed that tonight.
“Other than Lee Selby, he is the best featherweight in Britain and one of the top featherweights in Europe. That has been reinforced tonight, he was dropped, he was hurt, but he got off the deck to grab the win.”
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