Boxing


Wayne McCullough To Fight In Next "Prizefighter" Tournament, Set For May 29th

by James Slater - Promoter Barry Hearn managed to lure a big name into taking part in the most recent edition of his exciting "Prizefighter" tournament, as former WBO heavyweight champ Herbie Hide boxed in "Prizefighter The Cruiserweights II," but now Hearn looks set to top that at the end of the month. BoxRec, and McCullough himself have confirmed that "The Pocket Rocket" will box in the super-bantamweight tournament set for May 29th; with the show to most likely take place once again at York Hall, London..

McCullough, the former WBC bantamweight champion, is by far the biggest name yet to be involved in "Prizefighter." However, this big name will not in any way make it a dead cert for the Belfast man who now lives in Las Vegas to win the tournament. Hide, for example, was a big betting favourite this past Friday, yet he won one bout, but picked up a bad cut, and pulled out of the show. Can McCullough make a successful return and win the tourney at the end of the month though?

Now aged 39 (Wayne will turn 40 in July) and inactive since June of 2008, when he retired on his stool after the 6th-round of his fight with Juan Ruiz, McCullough will be battling ring-rust as well as his opponents on May 29th. Not having won a fight since 2004, McCullough will be hoping he can give his career a shot in the arm - as Audley Harrison did, of course - at the expense of his "Prizefighter" opposition.

Speaking of just who McCullough will face at the end of the month; so far only one other fighter has been confirmed for the show - Esham Pickering, the 33-year-old former British, Commonwealth and European super-bantam champion. This fight, should it happen, would be an interesting match-up. It will also be interesting to see who else joins McCullough and Pickering in battle.

Age and rust aside, "The Pocket Rocket," with his old amateur experience and fitness (McCullough has never "ballooned" in weight, even whilst being inactive, training regularly) could do well in the three-round bouts. With his experience also, along with his toughness and good punching power at 122-pounds, McCullough wouldn't exactly shock anyone if he were to win the tournament.

Ever since his two WBC 122-pound title fight losses to Oscar Larios in 2005, McCullough has wanted to make a successful return to the ring. After the loss to Ruiz it was assumed Wayne had retired, yet his post-fight words had been taken out of context and new challenges were sought. A fight with the big-hitting Kiko Martinez was signed for December 2007, but the conqueror of Bernard Dunne failed to make weight and the fight fell apart at the eleventh hour. A fight with fellow Irishman Dunne was also a possibility for McCullough at one point.

Now, finally, and even though some fans will be surprised he has done so, McCullough has found himself a comeback challenge.

"I was always fast as an amateur and threw lots of punches, so here's hoping," Wayne said to BoxRec with regards to his chances on May 29th. "I run and train every day whether I have a fight coming up or not. It is just a case of stepping up the training when I got this offer. How much have I got left? Well, we will see on May 29th!"

We sure will, and fingers crossed McCullough, 27-7(18) has at least enough left to be able to avoid being embarrassed by a fighter who would not have lived with him in his prime.

Article posted on 02.05.2010



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