WBO European super-bantamweight champion Tyrone McCullagh is enjoying his new status too much to allow maiden challenger Alvaro Rodriguez to dethrone him.
On Friday night, the undefeated Glen Road man (12-0, 6 KOs) takes on the Spaniard (9-2-1, 1 KO) on the #MTKFightNight at Eagles Community Arena in Newcastle – live on iFL TV – and far from resting on his laurels, McCullagh is more motivated than ever.
“There’s a lot of drive with any title fight but this is a very different situation to fighting for a vacant title now,” the former Illies Golden Gloves southpaw said.
“I’m the champion and he’s coming to dethrone me. It’s not going to happen because I’ve worked far too hard in this camp. The belt stays with me on Friday.
“This camp, I’ve worked on relaxing a bit more.
“I don’t want to be a million miles an hour all the time. It works for me but I can save energy and be a bit more cute. I believe you’ll see a more relaxed version of me now.”
McCullagh won the WBO European super-bantamweight belt in October with a unanimous decision win against the previously-unbeaten Josh Kennedy in Belfast.
And McCullagh is eager to climb the pro ladder even further now.
“It’s up to my management how many times I defend this belt. I love having it and being European champion but I do want a world title shot sooner rather than later so this could be my last defence.”
Joining McCullagh on a busy bill are north-east boxing heroes such as Simon Vallily, Troy Williamson, Darren Reay, Chad Ellis, Jay Hughes and Adam Gair.
Sports writer from St Johnston, now based in Letterkenny, with ten years’ experience covering sport in Donegal. Was a nominee for NUJ Sports Journalist of the Year in 2010. Honoured by the Donegal Boxing Board in 2016 for his coverage on the sport.