Talented County Antrim set to go toe-to-toe with Basque select

Paul McCullagh, pictured with dad Paul sr, took the Ulster Elite light-heavyweight title at the Ulster Hall back in January. Picture by Mark Marlow
Neil Loughran

A COUNTY Antrim team brimming with talent will go to war with a Basque select at the Belfast’s Balmoral Hotel tonight.

Some of the top up-and-coming talent in Ulster will be on view against some seasoned opponents, with the first fight scheduled to get under way at 8pm. Admission is free.

Fresh from his stoppage win in New York last weekend, big-punching Paul McCullagh will lead the County Antrim challenge.

The St John Bosco light-heavy was one of eight Ulster winners from the star-studded team that travelled to the Big Apple, and added to his burgeoning reputation with another powerful showing against Fabio Guzman on the ‘Pummelling at the Pier’ show.

McCullagh will take on the Basque region’s Brayan Zapata in the final bout of a nine-fight card.

There is plenty of talent elsewhere on the bill too, with Anthony Johnston (Gleann) taking on Iker Fernandez at 69kg, while fellow welter Nathan Watson (Saints) faces Luis Vaca Suarez.

Experienced St Paul’s fighter Gerard Matthews is up against Joussef Hamid at 63kg, while St George’s ace Jack McGivern – younger brother of Commonwealth Games bronze medallist James – leads a strong cast of potential future stars.

He faces Ander Blanco Cirion at lightweight, while Star’s highly-rated Lee McKee shares the ring with Jokin Garcia in a 63kg showdown.

At middleweight Dermi Mazarire (St George’s) faces Basque’s Jon Kaminuaga, with Clonard’s Ben Ferran up against Asier Larrinaga.

In the evening’s sole female contest, at lightweight, Shauna Callaghan of Clann Naofa takes on Naiara Olmedo.

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