Boxing

'I'll see Josh Kennedy in the ring on Friday night' says Derry title contender Tyrone McCullagh

Tyrone McCullagh takes on Josh Kennedy at the Titanic Exhibition Centre on Friday night
Andy Watters

HIS opponent, Josh Kennedy, has been doing some trash-talking on social media but Tyrone McCullagh vows to do all his talking in the ring on Friday night.

The Derry man takes on his English rival over 10 rounds for the WBO European title and Kennedy’s vocal online presence has added more than a pinch of spite to what had already promised to be an entertaining fight.

Both combatants are up-and-coming on 11-0 and the winner at the Titanic Exhibition Centre will kick on into the British title reckoning next year.

“It has been a long camp and a tough camp,” said McCullagh.

“I had a few weeks’ off and then I got word about this fight so I’ve been back in training since mid-August over in Liverpool. I was over there for the first three weeks’ to start off and it gets lonely but that is the name of the game – the loneliness and the toughness prepares you for fight nights.”

In his last fight, against Joe Ham, McCullagh was in control when he made the mistake of rushing in with his chin exposed and he was dropped for first time in his career. He got up to finish the fight impressively and says getting put down has taught him a very valuable lesson.

“That was the first time I’d ever been dropped and hopefully the last as well,” he said.

“I rushed in and I was caught a bit off balance but my legs were fine and my head was clear when I got up. I’ll learn from it, I’ve learned my lesson and hopefully it won’t happen again – it won’t happen in this fight anyway.

“At least I know that if I do get put down I can get back up and continue dominating the fight. But I hope it doesn’t come to that, I like to think I’ve learned my lesson and I won’t make the same mistake again.

“Jamie Conlan was a brilliant example of somebody who got dropped once or twice but he usually got up to drop his opponent and win the fight anyway, he was in some absolute wars and I think that really helped him to build his profile. But preferably I would like to stay out of the wars and win without getting dropped.”

Kennedy has recorded five early wins in his 11 fights, but only one in his last seven. One-punch power is not his forte but he has picked up the Southern Area and English super-bantamweight titles.

“It’s a very dangerous fight and I’m not overlooking him at all,” said McCullagh.

“I’m 100 per cent focussed on him, we’re both 11-0, we have very similar records – he has stopped five and I’ve stopped six – so it’s a great fight for both of us, an even fight.”

As for Kennedy’s trash-talking, it’s water off a duck’s back says Derry native McCullagh.

“He’s been slobbering away but I’ve kept quiet,” he says.

“I’m going to leave my talking until Friday night and I’ve no doubt in my mind that I’m going to win. I just ignore it, it’s part and parcel of boxing now and you are going to get people who are like that. I don’t know what his angle is because I don’t know the guy. I’ve just let it go over my head and I’ll see him in the ring on Friday night.”

CONRAD Cummings has been the headline act in Belfast and he has featured high the undercards of some of Carl Frampton’s biggest fight nights too but losses have prevented him from making a definitive breakthrough yet.

Now 27, ‘Dynamite’ features on the undercard of McCullagh-Kennedy at the Titanic Exhibition on Friday night determined to make up for lost time and get himself back into title contention.

A loss against Dubliner Luke Keeler saw him slip back down the middleweight ladder but the Coalisland scrapper – now 14-2-1 - says he can “smell the belts” again.

“I feel if I fought Luke Keeler again, I’d beat him,” he said.

“I can smell the belts. They’re not too far away. If the Keeler rematch doesn’t come off then the belt I’d like to fight for first is the Commonwealth title.

“I never got to go to the Commonwealth Games as an amateur because I turned professional just beforehand. I believe I’d have won gold at those Games and for that reason, I’d like to fight for the Commonwealth as a pro.”

Cummings got the Keeler defeat out of his system by beating Brighton southpaw Nicky Jenman on the undercard of Frampton-Jackson at Windsor Park.

“I’m thankful MTK Global has got me out again so quickly,” he said.

“They’re keeping me busy and that was something I lacked earlier in my career. I won’t go looking for a knockout on October 5 but I’m all-action and I’ll be letting a few bombs go.”

Meanwhile, Cummings’ stablemate Steven Ward steps up to 10 rounds against Mexican light-heavyweight Rolando Paredes on Friday night.

The unbeaten Celtic light-heavyweight champion (8-0) expects a tough examination against the Mexican who has lost three of his last five but has 11 knockout wins on his 15-7-2 card.

“I expect him to bring the best out of me,” he said.

“We prepared for a come-forward fighter last time out and although we didn’t get that when we stepped in the ring, it’s a case of more of the same in preparation. I’m excited to get back in there.

“Boxing in Belfast is just massive at the moment. I fell on my feet with the timing of turning professional and I’m lucky to be a part of it. I’m grateful to MTK Global for having me active all the time.”

Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury react as promoter Frank Warren (centre) keeps them apart during a press conference at BT Sport Studio, London yesterday

TYSON Fury and Deontay Wilder had to be separated at the first press conference to promote their WBC heavyweight title fight.

The brash rivals began their press tour ahead of the December 1 bout in Los Angeles at the BT Sport studios in London on Monday afternoon, and will also visit New York and LA before the end of the week.

Fury dismissed suggestions he was the "challenger" to Wilder, before igniting the growing tension between them by getting out of his seat and demanding the American join him for a "body spar".

The 30-year-old's promoter Frank Warren was forced to stand between them as Wilder agreed, before then being helped by others as the press conference ended with the two fighters on their feet shouting at each other.

"I am no challenger for no man. I'm the linear heavyweight champion of the world, the best of the best," Fury said.

"This is two champions colliding, equal rights, rephrase and start again."

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BELFAST super-bantamweight Ruadhan ‘Rudy’ Farrell has signed professional forms with Assassin Promotions and hopes to make his pro debut before the year is out.

The volume-punching scrapper will be trained by the experienced John Breen and Eamonn Magee and says his first target is winning an Irish title but he has his sights set much higher than that.

“I wanted to become Celtic and Irish champion and I’d also like to fight for the British title,” said Farrell who cut his teeth on the ‘semi-pro’ circuit before making his recent switch.

“I have a good few things to work on but with the team I have I know I’ll get to the top of my game.

“My favourite fighter at the minute is Ryan Burnett who just does everything so well and I think he’s going to clear the whole super-bantamweight division.”

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