Derry’s McCullagh (12-0, 6 KOs) won his super-bantamweight crown as the headline act in Belfast back in October and returns to defend it in the newly-built Eagles Community Arena – live on iFL TV.
With his new sparring partner, world title challenger Muhammad Waseem, sharpening him up for his maiden challenger Alvaro Rodriguez, ‘White Chocolate’ feels well prepared to make another significant statement.
McCullagh said: “I love headlining shows. It’s where I belong and I don’t want to move from here. I want to be late on the bills, fighting for titles and being on TV. It’s what I murder myself in the gym for!
“Waseem has been a great addition to the camp. He’s hugely dedicated and we never miss a session. His diet is on point – he never breaks it and eats at the same time every day.
“Sparring Waseem has brought me on. He’s a world title challenger and was only narrowly denied when he fought for a world title. It’s great to have that kind of experience in the camp.
“I still miss punching Paddy Barnes in the face! Just joking. I never thought I’d say it but I miss having him around full stop. He’s great fun to be around and very good to have around when you want to talk Boxing too.
“It’s also inspiring seeing the likes of Sean McComb in camp because in terms of amateur Boxing, he’s up there with Paddy for experience. He’s a novice as a pro but he’s taking people apart in sparring. His knowledge is unbelievable. He’s even giving me a run for my money in the sprints!”
“There are a lot of local fighters on this bill and the local fans in the north-east always get behind their guys. I can’t wait to get in there and put on a show for everybody.
“It’ll be electric and for the fighter, it’s all about soaking it up and enjoying it without letting the situation get to you.
“I’ve been working on all aspects of my game since the last fight but I’ve really tightened up my defence and I’m also becoming better and punching in bunches.
“The middleweight division is thriving at the moment. I’m excited by that but I can also get down to super-welterweight so there are so many opportunities for me out there. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds.
“It’s a massive inspiration for all the fighters to see the statements MTK Global is making right now with the Top Rank and ESPN+ deal. For me, fighting in the States one day would be a dream come true.”
Simon Vallily is eager to explore the extra weight behind his punches as he prepares for his heavyweight debut on this weekend’s #MTKFightNight.
The former amateur sensation (13-2-1, 4 KOs) tackles burly Fijian Jone Volau (5-4, 2 KOs) at Eagles Community Centre in Newcastle on Friday – live on iFL TV.
As he prepares to showcase his skill in front of his loyal travelling Middlesbrough crowd, Vallily feels the dawn of a new era.
He said: “I’ve really enjoyed my first camp as an heavyweight. Not killing myself to make weight has given me that love for the sport back. It’s been a joy.
“The extra power I’m now carrying is going to be a big factor on Friday night. No longer am I leaving my strength and power on the scales.
“It’s always good to fight up here in the north east and I want to show I can get right in the mix on the domestic scene in my next few fights.
“As far as talent goes I am more than capable of beating any of my British rivals – I just have to stay disciplined away from the ring.
“Being managed by MTK Global, I know if I keep start winning and performing then MTK Global will open the doors for me.
“I’m very excited about the future but it’s a case of watch what I do in the ring instead of just listening to me talking the talk.”
WBO European super-bantamweight champion Tyrone McCullagh is enjoying his new status too much to allow maiden challenger Alvaro Rodriguez to dethrone him.
The undefeated ‘White Chocolate’ (12-0, 6 KOs) takes on the Spaniard (9-2-1, 1 KO) on the #MTKFightNight at Eagles Community Arena in Newcastle – live on iFL TV – and far from resting on his laurels, McCullagh is more motivated than ever.
The talented southpaw said: “There’s a lot of drive with any title fight but this is a very different situation to fighting for a vacant title now.
“I’m the champion and he’s coming to dethrone me. It’s not going to happen because I’ve worked far too hard in this camp. The belt stays with me on Friday.
“This camp, I’ve worked on relaxing a bit more. I don’t want to be a million miles an hour all the time. It works for me but I can save energy and be a bit more cute. I believe you’ll see a more relaxed version of me now.
“It’s up to my management how many times I defend this belt. I love having it and being European champion but I do want a world title shot sooner rather than later so this could be my last defence.”
Elite Kazakh Nurtas Azhbenov is enjoying stepping up ahead of his second six-rounder on Friday’s #MTKFightNight in Newcastle – live and free-to-air on iFL TV.
The Kandyagash prospect has raced to 4-0 since ending a medal-laden amateur career to turn professional with MTK Global and now has a chance to show fans at the newly-built Eagles Community Arena what he can do.
As he looks to accelerate his climb up the rankings alongside compatriots and team-mates Sultan Zaurbek, Viktor Kotochigov and Abilkhaiyr Shegaliyev, Azhbenov can’t wait for the first bell.
Azhbenov said: “It’s great to be going up a level from four rounds to six rounds. I feel I need to carry on working harder and training harder in the gym so I can be physically fit and strong enough to go the distance.
“I enjoy Boxing more rounds. When it is shorter rounds, I don’t have enough time to really showcase my abilities but in the longer rounds I have time to weigh up my opponent and adapt my style and technique.
“It will suit my style because I can work on the opponent, take my time, tire him out, hurt him and then get to work to score points. Then when I feel the time is right, BOOM! I go for the knockout.
“Training with my coach Angel Fernandez has gone so well. I believe I am improving in all aspects with my technical and physical ability. I am sharpening my skills and controlling my diet and weight getting ready and preparing myself for the fight ahead.”
Unbeaten Darren Reay is relishing the chance to show just how much he has advanced his skills over the past few months when he fights on a packed #MTKFightNight show at the Eagles Community Arena in Newcastle this Friday.
Reay (4-0-1) hasn’t fought since October, but has constantly been in the gym during that time, and he is ready to show how much the hard work has paid off later this week.
Reay said: “I’m very excited to be back under the lights on a big stage. It’s the first MTK Global show in Newcastle and I can’t wait to get out there and show all the developments that I’ve made in the gym as it’s been a long time coming.
“I was scheduled to have a tick over fight in March but that didn’t happen, and then I missed out on a December fight with a cut, so really I’ve had three camps for this one fight. I’ve never been out the gym and I think people will see a big improvement in myself.
“It’s been hard mentally in this camp but very enjoyable at the same time. I’ve pushed myself big time and I’ve done probably between 50 to 60 rounds sparring and it’s brought me on massively.”
The card is topped by Tyrone McCullagh’s maiden WBO European title defence against Spain’s Alvaro Rodriguez with local Boxing stars such as Simon Vallily and Troy Williamson looking to steal the limelight.
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