Back In The Day - McCullough lines up title bout in Belfast - The Irish News, July 22, 1999

Wayne McCullough in action against Naseem Hamed. This day 20 years ago he was eyeing up a clash with Eric Morales
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McCullough lines up title bout in Belfast

WAYNE McCullough believes he can bring in the millennium with a bang with a world title fight in Belfast.

McCullough, the 29-year-old Las Vegas based former world bantamweight champion, is being lined up for a fourth championship bid on home turf in early January.

Midweek talks with his US promoter Matt Tinley outlined tentative discussions on a ‘Battle of Britain’ clash in McCullough’s home town with England’s European champion Michael Brodie.

McCullough, who hasn’t fought since last October’s disputed points loss to Naseem Hamed for the WBO champion’s featherweight title at Atlantic City, appears poised for a live Sky TV return to the big time.

“There’s intense talk, a lot of speculation in the American media and in boxing circles here, that Eric Morales, the WBC super-bantamweight champion, is about to move up, and that will open the door for a challenge for the vacant title,” said Wayne.

“I had a long discussion with Matt Tinley on Tuesday and discussions are under way with Sky Television and other parties regarding a World title challenge for me in early January, and the talk is that Matt wants to put it on in Belfast.”

McCullough continued: “Morales is due to defend his title later this month, but the word is here that he is about to step up to featherweight to challenge Naseem Hamed.

“I will then be in a position to go for the vacant title, against the number three of the WBC, who is Michael Brodie of England, the current European champion.

“I’m pleased that things are being sorted out. I turned 29 on July 7. The clock is ticking. I’m very eager to get back quickly. The injury has cleared up totally, and the plan is that Matt has told me that I will have two warm-up fights before challenging for a world title.”

Brodie, currently ranked in the WBC’s top three, would be a star attraction for any proposed showdown in Belfast, says McCullough.

“That’s the sort of fight that will be easily sold in Belfast. It would be an ideal match. Brodie is number three, and if the title becomes vacant, the likely match-up would be that I would fight him,” he said.



DECLAN Bonner could be on a collision course with the Donegal GAA board after the county’s executive recommended that his request for a two year extension to his term as football manager should be rejected.

As it stands at the moment, the Donegal county executive are only prepared to grant Bonner a further 12 months in the position.

This recommendation is understood to have annoyed the Rosses man who is not surprisingly, keen on a little more job security.

Bonner recently met with his fellow selectors to discuss this amongst other matters, and has based his request as a result of this meeting.

County chairperson John McConnell received Bonner’s submission, but the executive have recommended since then that the outgoing manager can only receive a one year extension, much to Bonner’s disgruntlement.

The county executive’s decision is supported by the county bye laws, which state that only a one year extension is offered following a term of management.

However, the executive’s stance could be overturned if a two-thirds majority of delegates at the larger county committee meeting on August 3 decide that Bonner is entitled to a two-year and not one-year extension.

The feeling in Donegal would be that Bonner would have much popular support, considering his recent stance against the games administration committee in support of his players.

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