Ring warrior Marc McCullough retires from boxing on health grounds
MARC McCullough looked to back with a bang after flooring Declan Geraghy at the Ulster Hall in May but, seven months on, the Belfast man has announced his retirement from boxing on health grounds.
An undisclosed injury forced him out of an October showdown with tough Romanian Viorel Simion, and the 30-year-old confirmed yesterday that his fighting days had come to an end.
"Since not being allowed to fight back in October I’ve had some big decisions to make and today I’ve decided to retire from professional boxing,” read a Twitter statement from McCullough.
“I haven't taken this decision lightly but the risk to my health just isn't worth it, I have to think of my longevity & put my family first for once.
"Although I feel I haven't fulfilled my full potential in achieving my dream of being world champ, I'm going out on a high and I've been a part of some excellent fights & picked up a few belts along the way.
"Thank you to all who helped me out along the way including coaches, sponsors, promoters & most importantly the fans!"
It is a shame for the local fight scene, as McCullough’s journey – which followed an impressive amateur career – always entertaining.
The Belfast man lost his second pro fight to Welsh veteran Dai Davies but reeled off wins in his next 11, stopping Limerick’s Willie ‘Big Bang’ Casey in a memorable Irish title showdown at the Odyssey Arena in October 2013.
He added the WBO European featherweight title after a 10 round war with Martin Parlagi at the Waterfront Hall in 2014, before his career stalled following defeats to Zoltan Kovacs and Isaac Lowe.
McCullough went on to claim the WBO Inter-Continental featherweight title against Luis Carlos Lugo but lost his British featherweight challenge to the experienced Ryan Walsh in May 2017.
It looked as though there may have been nowhere left for McCullough to turn after that 11th round stoppage but his career finished with a flourish, defeating Rudy Encarnacion and Geraghty in back-to-back fights to win the IBO International and IBF European super-featherweight crowns.
Former Breen’s Gym stablemate Jamie Conlan was among those to wish McCullough the best in retirement, saying: “Congrats on a great career, shared so many tough nights in Breens gym over the years. A true and honest pro. Enjoy never having to make weight again mate!”