Tyrone McCullagh is zeroing in on WBO European title rival Josh Kennedy ahead of their hotly-anticipated clash at Belfast’s Titanic Exhibition Centre on October 5.
‘White Chocolate’ won the Celtic super-bantamweight crown last time out and steps up again to face another 11-0 fighter in Kentish visitor Kennedy, who is covered in body art.
McCullagh said: “Those face tattoos of his simply provide me with targets to aim for.
“I don’t know the guy and I don’t even follow him on social media so I’m not going to start any fake ‘beef’ but my mates have sent me screenshots of his posts. Let’s face it – he’s a muppet.
“Despite his tattoos and fashion sense, I’ve nothing against him really and he’s another step up for me having been English champion.
“I’ve seen a few clips of him on YouTube but I tend to focus on myself rather than on my opponent. I know he had a split decision win over Michael Ramabaletsa, who’s not got a great record but it’s slightly misleading because he took Ryan Doyle very close.
“The bottom line is that Kennedy is an undefeated fighter like myself but I don’t believe that he’s been in with the same calibre of opponent as I have up to this point.
“It’s nights like this that inspired me to start boxing in the first place. It’s been a long, hard road but finally I’m reaping the rewards.
“When I beat Kennedy, I’ll be knocking at the door of the top 10 in the world.”
McCullagh faces Kennedy on a stacked bill that also includes the likes of top heavyweight David Price, world-ranked Nathaniel May, Steven Ward, Conrad Cummings and many more.
Sunny Edwards and Ryan Farrag will contest the WBO European super-flyweight title on a stacked MTK Global show at York Hall on October 26 – live on BoxNation.
London’s Edwards (8-0-KO3) and Liverpudlian Farrag (19-3-KO5) collide at the home of British boxing on a card that also includes world ranking fights for their MTK Global team-mates Neslan Machado and Michael McKinson.
Cuba’s Machado (14-0-KO8) fights for the WBA International super-bantamweight crown while McKinson (14-0-KO2) takes on popular local Sam McNess for the WBC Silver International welterweight belt.
In addition, a host of emerging stars form a lengthy undercard with elite Kazakh amateurs Sultan Zaurbek and Azhbenov Nurtas set to star alongside fellow debutants Roseanna Cox, Donovan Mortlock, Jamal Akay, Josh Adewale. Promising duo Mitchell Frearson and Dan Azeez also look to continue their winning starts as professionals.
MTK London promoter Lee Eaton said: “It’s great to be back at York Hall, which has played host to some of the great British fights in boxing history.
“Hopefully, we have another classic on our hands in the headline act of Edwards v Farrag with both men looking to get their hands on a major title before moving on to world level.
“MTK Global events just keep getting bigger and better and improvement is what it’s all about. We want to bring the fans exactly what they’re after.
“As well as the main event, it’s another stacked undercard with some truly world-class talent in Zaurbek and Nurtas. The two ranking fights involving Machado and McKinson will also be feisty affairs with so much on the line.
“It’s fantastic to be able to give so many of our promising fighters debuts on this stage. You look at someone like Roseanna Cox who has the potential to become an icon for female boxing and it’s great that journey is about to start.”
MTK Global is proud to announce the signing of promising Glasgow bantamweight Jack Turner as he looks to emulate his amateur success as a professional.
The 22-year-old Turner impressed in becoming Scottish champion and winning a British silver medal and is excited over the prospect of a fast rise in the paid ranks.
Turner said: “I won numerous titles as an amateur and was quite successful but it’s as a professional that I’ll show my true potential.
“Hopefully, MTK Global will see that potential and once I get out there and showcase my abilities, they’ll want to move me as quickly as possible.
“If I was setting targets, I’d definitely want to have the British title within the first couple of years and then move on from there. That’s my first ambition.
“I’m looking forward to showing the fans what I’m about. I believe I’m a big puncher so it’s a case of ‘seek and destroy’ for me. I’m looking to put on great boxing displays and getting through whatever’s put in front of me.”
Danny Vaughan said: “Jack is a very exciting prospect. He’s already been hugely successful and will be even better in the paid ranks.
“During his amateur days, he mixed it with the likes of IBF world youth champion Lee McGregor and double Commonwealth gold medallist Reece McFadden, so he’s all class.
“We’re delighted to be joining Jack on his journey and we believe that journey goes right to the top.”
Paddy Gallagher will face Jay Byrne for the BUI Celtic crown at Belfast’s Titanic Exhibition Centre on October 5 – live on BoxNation.
‘Pat-Man’ (13-4-KO8) has quickly overcome a broken jaw and goes straight in to a title fight against Dublin’s Byrne (7-5-KO2) on a huge card that also includes Tyrone McCullagh bidding for the WBO European super-bantamweight belt.
Gallagher said: “I think this will be an absolutely cracking fight. I only ever met him once. We occasionally text each other to say ‘good luck’ or ‘well done’ but I can’t wait to get stuck into him verbally as well as physically.
“To be fair to him, he’s already shown a good bit of sportsmanship texting me and wishing me all the best. He’s a credit to boxing and has never shied away from a fight. He’s a bit like myself so we’ll go to town on each other.
“I only ever seem to fight nice guys but this will sell tickets anyway as it’s north against south and there’s a significant title on the line. Byrne has been about and in with some top prospects like Josh Kelly and Anthony Fowler. It’ll be a tough test but of course I’ll do a job.
“My jaw is perfect. It’s been more or less three months exactly. I’ve been training away and now I’m starting sparring. The doctor said it would heal after 10 weeks and we gave it 12. I believe it’s good as ever.
“This show shows how good Belfast boxing is right now. I’ve a good reputation here and people say I’m good to watch. Byrne is tough, durable, experienced and as game as a badger. You’ve also got McCullagh and Kennedy who are both unbeaten fighting for the European title, David Price and a host of local talent.”
Rising star Avril Mathie is enthusiastically preparing for her maiden professional title shot having overcome a recent injury sustained in a motorbike accident.
After kicking off her career in the paid ranks with two stoppage wins, Mathie takes on Samantha Salazar for the vacant American Boxing Federation Continental Americas female bantamweight crown in St Petersburg, Florida on October 6.
It’s a rapid turnaround for the Miami-based boxer, who was hit by a motorbike in early August.
Mathie said: “Getting hit by a motorbike a few weeks ago was very frustrating. It happened on the day I was planning on starting my training camp so it put a bit of a spanner in the works!
“I immediately tried to look at the positives – I didn’t actually break my leg. It was just a bit of a dent and a hardcore bruise so I made a speedy recovery.
“In the meantime, I worked with what I had and did as much training as I could given the circumstances. I was ready to go a couple of weeks later and in the long run, the injury won’t have much of an effect so I’m thankful for that.
“I’m really excited to be fighting in the States for the first time as a professional. I fought half my amateur career here so I know what it’s about.
“I love to put on a show and I really love and appreciate the way the Americans get into boxing. They turn out to events and really get behind fighters.”