Tyrone McCullagh promises to silence the doubters in Golden Contract semi-finals
UNBEATEN DERRY southpaw, Tyrone 'White Chocolate' McCullagh believes he will rise to the occasion when he enters the ring for the semi-finals of the Golden Contract featherweight tournament next month.
The slick puncher (14-0) eased his way into the last four of the lucrative competition with a unanimous decision victory over Sheffield's Razaq Najib at York Hall but remains an outsider to go all the way with British champion, Ryan Walsh, world title challenge, Jazza Dickens and pre-tournament favourite, Leigh Wood all in the semi-final draw which takes place on February 18th.
While McCullagh acknowledges the excellence of his rivals, he's confident he will defy underdog status, admitting he's got a chip on his shoulder as he looks to silence the doubters.
“I genuinely believe that out of my three potential opponents, there’s not a lot separating them. They’re all very, very good," said the Derry man.
“Without a doubt, whoever I get, it will be my toughest opponent to date but I’ve always said that the higher the quality of opponent, that’s when you’ll see the best ‘White Chocolate.’ You haven’t seen it yet.
“On February 21, it’ll be my finest display. I know a lot of people think I’m here to make up the numbers and I don’t blame them because I’m a super-bantamweight moving up with only 14 fights against those three, who have world title fights etc.
“I’m happy to wear the tag of ‘the novice’ in this. I imagine I’ll be the underdog whoever I draw. That suits me down to the ground because it takes all the pressure off me.
“I’ve got a bit of a chip on my shoulder. I have a few people out there I need to prove wrong and that’s part of what has motivated me through this camp. I think about going out there and silencing my doubters."
Sky Sports presenter, Johnny Nelson criticised McCullagh after his semi-final win, claiming he didn't have the necessary power to upset the odds in the tournament. However, McCullagh disagrees with the assessment of the former world cruiserweight champion.
“Johnny Nelson said I don’t have any power but that’s not true – I have the first five seasons of it on DVD in my collection," he laughed. "Jokes aside, I have devastating power but I don’t want the knockout bonuses because I’m not greedy.”
The hotly-anticipated final four collisions will take place at York Hall on February 21 alongside the super-lightweight equivalents – live on Sky Sports in association with Matchroom Boxing and on ESPN+ in the US in association with Top Rank.