TYRONE ‘White Chocolate’ McCullagh, unmarked and unbeaten in three professional fights, can afford to take his time to work his way through the super-bantamweight division.
The southpaw has yet to be ruffled in his opening three outings and there’s still plenty of old lumber waiting to be chopped as he slowly makes his mark in the pro. game.
His management company, Goodwin Promotions keep lining them up and McCullagh keeps knocking them down inside the first round - the latest challenger, Latvian, Antons Zacests, who could last just 104 seconds with the Derry man at the Europa Hotel on Saturday night.
But the Glen Road man is growing impatient and wants bigger tests to come in the immediate future as he bids to fight his way up the pecking order.
And he is hoping for a quick-fire return to the ring, promising big news on the horizon about a possible show on home soil next April!
On Saturday night, McCullagh, now 3-0, lit up the Belfast venue with a performance equal to the electric reception he received from his army of supporters.
And given this was the second fight to feature on the MHD Promotions ‘Elimination’ card, which featured a British title eliminator headliner where Belfast’s James Fryers lost to England’s Maxi Hughes, it was impressive that he was afforded the ‘noisiest’ support of the evening.
And, while he was slightly disappointed he wasn’t presented with a sterner test, he was delighted to give his steadily growing legion of fans something to cheer about with a deadly first round KO.
“I’m delighted to get the knock-out,” said McCullagh. “I thought it might have went on a bit longer as he had never been stopped before.
“I put him away in the first. I thought it might have been a tougher challenge but he wasn’t up to too much.
“He might have been harder than the last couple of opponents but I need tougher challenges.
“It was supposed to be a step up in challenge but he was away in the first. You can only beat whoever’s in front of you.
“As my career goes on the fights will obviously get tougher and the rounds will get longer but if you get the chance to put someone away, you’re going to take it,” he added.
“I’ve had three fights and three knock-outs so I couldn’t really ask for more and I’m delighted with the start I’ve made. Hopefully the wins keep coming thick and fast.”
It was supposed to be a step up in challenge but he was away in the first. You can only beat whoever’s in front of you.Tyrone McCullagh
And he claimed the vocal support made all the hard days and nights in the gym worthwhile.
“It was my first home fight and the support in Belfast was unbelievable,” continued the Derry southpaw.
“Everyone was saying that the biggest noise of the night was during my fight so I’m delighted with that and I’m grateful for everyone who came down and everyone who bought a ticket off me. It must be something about Derry.
“When I was walking out to the ring everyone was going mad and I was over the moon.Sometimes you ask yourself if it’s all worth it when you’re putting in the hours in the gym but when people come down and support me like they did on Saturday, it’s all worth it. All the hard work pays off.”
Zacests (2-1) was in trouble early in the fight and was forced down twice by McCullagh, first through a left to the body, followed by a glancing right uppercut to the head.
McCullagh followed up with another strong right to the head before the referee called a halt to proceedings, deeming Zacests unable to continue the bout.
And McCullagh felt it was the correct decision, with his opponent clearly feeling the effects of a series up punishing uppercuts and left hooks to the body.
“I put him down first with a left hook to the body,” recalled McCullagh. “Gerry Storey Snr. told me to let it go once or twice and that’s what put him down in the end.
“The referee was giving him an eight count and I seen him wincing so I knew he didn’t really want to know after that.
“But I didn’t want to rush in so I took my time and tried to pick my punches and I heard Gerry Jnr saying to try the short left uppercut because he was dipping his head a lot. So I landed one or two of those and he went down. The referee called it off after that after a minute and 40 or so.
“I would have liked him to go on for maybe a round longer but the referee was definitely right in calling it off. He didn’t want to know after I landed that first body shot.”
And the talented 25 year-old has promised big things in the pipeline with supporters possibly getting another chance to see him on home soil next April.
“Goodwin Promotions couldn’t get over but they congratulated me for the win and were telling me there was possibly another home fight on the cards in April.
“So while it’s not confirmed yet it’s very likely going to be announced soon if everything goes to plan.”