By Nathan Orr
Belfast, North Ireland - The well renowned Breen’s gym may be closing down, but it will open its doors to welcome not one but two WBO European Champions with the help of Marc McCullough (9-1).
The Shankill fighter marked a fourteen year boxing absence from the Waterfront Hall by capturing the vacant WBO European Featherweight title with a point’s decision victory over previously unbeaten Martin Parlagi (14-0)
In his last scheduled bout, McCullough was stripped of competing for the same WBO European title only a matter of hours before he was set to enter the ring. However on the headline stage of the Waterfront Hall, McCullough lived up to expectations and captured the belt he had long-awaited for.
The fan favourite, McCullough entered the ring to a rapturous reception in which the home fans belted out “Stand up for the Ulstermen.” Despite the home support, the Shankill man started nervously with perhaps the headline pressure getting to him. Parlagi sensed this and took the fight to McCullough, landing blowing right and left hooks. McCullough’s chin was truly tested on this occasion and just about escaped an early blowout to Martin Parlagi.
From the second round, McCullough began to weather the Czech Republican storm, using his superior boxing technique to his advantage. The Shankill man’s morale was lifted when upon delivering a left hook, the relentless Parlagi was sent falling to the canvas.
In the fourth, McCullough once again had to dig deep to prevail, recovering from a left hook which sent him to the canvas for the first time in his career. Upon reaching his feet, it was clear the knockdown wasn’t the only damage but also a badly damaged nose.
As the rounds progressed McCullough stuck to what he does best: boxing and moving. In changing angles in his attacks, Parlagi was left swinging wildly. The Shankill fighter started to grab the rounds with authority as he left Parlagi tiring and missing by wide margins.
Parlagi is known as a pressure fighter, but the pace took its toll as instead of the previous relentless attacks the Czech Republican launched single ambush attempts. As the closing rounds passed by, McCullough began to control the pace and engage at his own will, which included several thudding combinations that forced Parlagi to take a step back for the first time in the fight.
Upon the final bell sounding, relief was on both fighter’s faces after enduring a tough ten round battle. The judges ringside scored the bout 95-93,97-91 and 98-92 all in favour of the man from the Shankill, Marc McCullough.
By capturing the third professional title of his short career, McCullough has progressed rapidly up the domestic featherweight rankings. McCullough’s aims are set high as he looks to recreate what his uncle Tommy Waithe achieved in the form of the British and Commonwealth belt. Although standing in his way is reigning champion Josh Warrington, a much discussed bout between the two young Featherweights will continue with Cyclone Promotions hoping to get the highly anticipated contest on the undercard of Carl Frampton’s world title challenge vs Kiko Martinez.
McCullough’s stablemate Jamie Conlan (11-0) successfully made the first defence of his newly acquired WBO European Super Flyweight title. The Belfast man gained a third round stoppage victory over Hungary’s Bantamweight champion Gabor Molnar (15-5)
Conlan entered the ring not only wearing his trademark Sombrero but grasping the first title of his professional career. The defending champion showed reluctance to relinquish his belt by way of overwhelming his Hungarian opponent.
In Molnar’s only previous contest on British shores, he suffered a stoppage loss vs Ian Butcher. Unfortunately for the Hungarian he suffered a similar fate at the Waterfront Hall.
Molnar started brightly by keeping up with Conlan in a highly competitive opening round, upsetting the odds momentarily by forcing the Belfast man onto the ropes and delivering punishment of his own.
In round two, the tide began to turn as Conlan grabbed the better of the close exchanges. The Belfast man near the end of round, landed a huge right hand which shook Molnar to his knees and forced the Hungarian to the canvas. Despite a valiant effort, “The Mexican” failed to finish his opponent off before the end of the round.
In the third and what proved to be the final stanza, Conlan showed his dangerous punching power with a drubbing right hand which sent his opponent to the canvas for the second time. Molnar bravely got to his feet but soon after the curtains were closed for good, as he failed to overcome Conlan’s firing onslaught. With the former Hungarian champion sent to the canvas for the third time, the referee deemed him as being in no position to continue at the 1:58 mark of the third round.
“The Mexican” previously exclaimed to BoxingScene that he is looking to gain experience at the 126lb mark before jumping up in weight to face the likes of Haskins, Hall and McDonell. Although with Paul Butler’s future at super-fly remaining uncertain, Conlan may just fancy himself to fight for the potentially vacant British and Commonwealth title before the end of the year.
Shane McGuigan’s pre-fight prediction was proved correct as Coalisland’s Conrad Cummings (2-0) demolished Lajos Munkacsi (11-13-3) within two rounds.
The amateur star hailed as “Dynamita” due to his experience in representing Mexico in the World Series of Boxing, controlled the contest against Lajos Munkacsi from the beginning until the brutal stoppage.
Cumming’s began the contest in dominant fashion and showed that every punch he threw held bad intentions. Munkaci’s durability got him through the opening round, despite taking a lot of painful bodyshots.
Fifty five seconds into the second round, the man from Coalisland threw a drubbing right hand which scrambled the brain of his Hungarian opponent. Despite attempting to get to his feet, Munkacsi was simply in no fit state to continue in the fight. Cumming’s come forward style which proved to be successful in the amateurs is translating to the professional game and with this his record moves to (3-0)
Shane McGuigan previously revealed that the County Tyrone prospect has been struggling to get sparring due to his growing reputation as a puncher. This contest proved no different as Cummings dispatched of his experienced opponent in emphatic fashion.
Barry McGuigan has set his aims high for the 23 year old, brandishing that Cummings can break into the top ten middleweights in Britain by the end of the year.
Former World Title challenger Wille Casey (14-3-0) put his career back on track with a hard earnt points victory over Krzysztof Rogowski (7-8-0)
Casey’s career looked in doubt after a ninth round stoppage defeat against Marc McCullough last year. In his comeback fight, the limerick man started the contest tentatively on the back foot with the suspicion of ring rust affecting his performance.
As the contest progressed, Casey landed the better quality of punches although at several points Rogowski caused issues by forcing the former world title challenger onto the ropes. During the third and fourth round, Casey was dragged into a contest he may not have anticipated against the tough Polish fighter.
As the closing rounds commenced “Big Bang” was forced to dig deep and in doing so wobbled his opponent with several leading left hands and thudding bodyshots. Upon the final bell sounding, the feeling around ringside was that Casey could have done more to chase the stoppage.
Casey boosts his record to (15-3-0) in a tough toe to toe battle, while his Polish challenger may be reluctant to return to Irish soil as this is his second defeat in succession, following his third round stoppage loss against Martin Lindsay.
Conall Carmichael (4-1) returned from a year long layoff to start afresh, defeating the man who he prevailed against on his professional debut.
Carmichael had a successful amateur career, not only sharing the ring with the likes of Andre Ward but also claiming several Irish and Ulster titles along the way. The Belfast man has previously confessed that his love for the sport has waned at points, but has promised to get his career back on track.
Carmichael did just that by defeating Moses Matovu (5-42-4) in a 40-35 point’s victory. Carmichael handled his Ugandan opponent’s showboating by stamping his authority through a stiffening jab. In the middle rounds it proved to be a scrappy contest, however the Belfast fighter’s superior fitness prevailed upon the latter stages of the fight. The contest came to a close with the referee amusingly telling off Matovu to stop talking while he was engaging with Carmichael.
Carmichael moves to (5-1) and hopes to get his professional career back along the right track.
Issac Dogboe (1-0) proved why he is one of Carl Frampton’s chief sparring partners with a dominating point’s victory over Andy Harris.
“Royal Storm” represented Ghana in the Olympics and showed his amateur pedigree. The contest began with the Ghanian controlling the centre of the ring with his jab, which forced Harris onto the backfoot. In the closing moments of the first round, Harris found himself on the receiving end of a right hook which sunk the Gloucester man to the canvas.
Despite having a tough opening round, Harris for the remainder of the fight showed great heart and durability. With his opponent tiring, Dogboe began to chase the knockout in the closing moments of the fight. The Ghanian proved himself to be a lethal body puncher throughout the contest. On the final bell John Lowe scored the fight 40-35 in favour of Issac Dogboe.