Boxing


Wayne McCullough Wants One Last World Title Fight, Says WBC May Let Him Have One

by James Slater - Ireland's Wayne McCullough, the former WBC bantamweight champion, is still not ready to hang up the gloves and give up on his goal of having one last shot at winning a second world title. Despite losing his last fight back in June of this year, when he was forced to quit on his stool while ahead on points against Juan Ruiz, the 38-year-old warrior wants to give it one more go at world level before he's through..

Speaking to BBC Sport recently, "The Pocket Rocket" revealed that another world title fight may not be a million miles away.

"The WBC said that the bantamweight champion from Japan (Hozumi Hasegawa), if he agrees to fight me, that they would let me," McCullough said. "I know the opportunity is there because I was a world champion."

Indeed he was, and McCullough has happy memories about both Japan and facing a Japanese fighter, as he won his WBC 118-pound belt against Yasuei Yakushiji in the defending champion's home country back in 1995. Presumably, all these years later, though he has not made bantamweight since 1996, Wayne feels he is able to do so okay. And while most, if not all, fans will scream in anger if the Irishman lands a world title chance after having lost his last fight, isn't the same exact thing happening on December 20th, when the undeserving Evander Holyfield goes in with WBA heavyweight boss Nikolai Valuev? This doesn't mean it's right - a former and past his best champion getting a chance ahead of far more eligible, young, contenders - but Wayne's case will not be the only one.

Regarding his June corner-retirement loss to Ruiz, McCullough says he was not 100-percent going in.

"I was injured going into the fight," Wayne said. "I keep myself in shape. I train every day. I'm 38-year-old but Bernard Hopkins is 43-year-old. If you keep yourself in shape, you can fight on a regular basis. I know I can become a world champion again. I've lost in my last seven world championship fights but I thought I was robbed a few times."

Most people will feel the likeable Irishman who lives in Las Vegas is fooling himself when he says he knows he can be a champion again, but he may well get his chance. It's now up to Japan's Hasegawa, a fighter who has an excellent record at 25-2(9). Since winning the WBC bantamweight belt with a 12 round UD over Veeraphol Sahaprom in April of 2005, the 27-year-old southpaw has made seven successful retentions. Despite not being a big puncher, Hasegawa would be extremely unlikely to lose to a 38-year-old McCullough.

Article posted on 27.11.2008



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