BOXING: Tyrone McCullagh '˜excited' to work with Matthew Macklin's MGM Group
TYRONE McCULLAGH believes he will secure his first professional title before the end of 2017 after signing an '˜exciting' new management contract with Matthew Macklin's MGM Group.
The talented Super Bantamweight prospect cut short his three year deal with Goodwin Promotions to join the former Irish, British and European middleweight champion.
The termination of his Goodwin contract was mutually agreed and he reckons he’s got a better chance of achieving his short term goals with the MGM team which has double Olympic medal winner, Paddy Barnes within its ranks.
World title challengers, Martin Murray and BJ Saunders and Belfast’s Jamie Conlan are also managed by MGM and McCullagh is confident the group packs a big enough punch in the sport to land him the Celtic title this year.
McCullagh is hoping to announce his next fight soon and is expected back in the ring in Belfast as early as next March. He was out just three times last year as he stretched his pro record to 5-0 but he wants to be more active in 2017.
“It’s been in the pipeline for a while,” he said of his new deal. “I signed up with them yesterday (Tuesday) and I’m delighted with it because they’re a good team to be with. They’re very active and they say they’ll keep me very busy which is what I need.
“I had three fights last year and my last one was at the start of October. I was happy with the results and how they went but I would have liked to have been a bit busier.
“So I got in touch with MGM and Steve (Goodwin) released me. There was no hard feelings there and I can’t thank him enough but with him being based in London and not putting any shows on in Ireland, it just wasn’t going my way.
“I got talking with MGM and they were happy to sign me, so I think it’s the right move.
“It’s still early in my career and I need as many fights as possible. Three just wasn’t enough. I need four or five a years minimum. I’m confident MGM can get me that and secure big enough fights for me.”
McCullagh, who made his pro debut in July 2015, has stopped four of his five opponents inside the distance and as he’s keen to build on that early momentum, MGM has promised to keep him as active as possible.
“Tyrone has a style that gets fans on their feet, he looks for the knockout and delivers excitement when he steps through the ropes. We plan on keeping Tyrone as active as possible to help his development and deliver the opportunities that he deserves” Team MGM commented.
The MGM Group has gyms spread across England, Scotland and Marbella, Spain where it was originally set-up from and while McCullagh will continue to train in Belfast and Derry, he’s happy to have the option of going to one of the state-of-the-art MGM gyms for sparring sessions or a pre-fight training camp.
And he’s delighted to join some of the most exciting prospects in Irish boxing in the MGM stable.
“Matthew Macklin is a massive name and he’s the head honcho of the company,” he explained. “They also have some big names in boxing signed up. More recently they have signed Paddy Barnes and Jamie Conlan so it’s a brilliant team. My mate Tyrone McKenna has been with them over a year. He’s one of my best mates and he hasn’t had a bad word to say about them.
“Since he signed with them his career has really taken off. In general they’re a brilliant team and are putting on shows all the time.
“I spoke to my manager yesterday and they’re planning on putting on a lot of shows in Ireland this year which will be on Box Nation and BT Sport as well.
“They have all the right connections. I had a small talk about what I want to do this year and I definitely want to win my first title. They agreed they will push for it and hopefully it’s on its way.
“I will still be basing myself in Belfast and staying locally, training in Donegal when I’m home. But if I ever wanted to go for spars or a training camp or a change of scene while I’m trying I could fly out to one of their bases. It’s a brilliant set-up.
“It’s exciting times for me,” he added. “I’m looking for a big year this year and I want my first title. I can’t wait to get started under them and get my first fight which will hopefully be at the start of March.”
Derry’s professional boxing scene is certainly enjoying somewhat of a revival at present with McCullagh, Connor Coyle, Sean McGlinchey and John Cooley all making waves at the early stages of their respective pro careers.
“Sean (McGlinchey) seems to have got a good deal as well and it’s a very exciting time for Derry in the boxing scene with Connor Coyle and John Cooley giving it a good whirl as well.
“It’s just unfortunate they can’t stage any shows in Derry. If they had the four of us on that it would be jam-packed. If the wins keep coming in for the Derry lads we won’t be long climbing that ladder.”