Beat Sergio Prado and I'm in mix for big fights: Marc McCullough
Usually late replacements mean a promoter making the best of a headache but Blain McGuigan has managed to improve on the original by matching Marc McCullough with Spaniard Sergio Prado at the Waterfront Hall on November 20.
Popular Belfast featherweight McCullough had been matched with Scotland's Jon Slowey over 10 rounds but must now prepare for former EU super-bantamweight champion Prado on the show which is headlined by the clash between unbeaten middleweights Conrad Cummings and Fredo Meli.
Having suffered a shock defeat in the summer, McCullough got his career back on track with a routine victory in Scotland and now knows that a successful night at the Waterfront will once more place him in the mix for British, Commonwealth and European honours.
Promoter McGuigan said: "It was a shock to get the call last week that Jon Slowey had pulled himself out of the fight with Marc but I'm really pleased that we have managed to find such a competitive replacement for Marc. Sergio Prado is a former EU champ, he's an aggressive, come-forward fighter and has boxed at a higher level than Marc's original opponent."
Apart from holding the EU title, Prado has also been the distance with former European champion Kid Galahad and is now stepping up to featherweight seeking to make his mark.
McCullough admits the switch to Prado as his opponent means a quick change in preparation as he had naturally been working towards facing Slowey, a tricky southpaw. Now he faces Prado who relies on all-out aggression.
"It's a shame that Slowey pulled out because I had prepared very well for him but this fight means even more now because a win means I will probably go back into the European top 10," said McCullough, who up until the shock loss to journeyman Zoltan Kovacs had been ranked four by the World Boxing Organistion.
"Prado is a much more aggressive fighter so I have to get myself ready for what he's going to bring to the ring.
"The good thing is that we already have a new sparring partner coming in who will be heavier than me and will look to push me back so that will help me get ready for Friday night week.
"Prado's boxed at a very good level and this is a chance for me to show everyone that I am right back to where I should be. British and Commonwealth title opportunities, even a European title fight can happen, I believe, if I can put in a good performance against this guy."
The supporting bill at the 'All On The Line' show also features Commonwealth Games gold medalist Paddy Gallagher, undefeated lightweight Paul Hyland Jnr, undefeated welterweight Matthew Wilton and the pro debut of Coalisland's Fergal McCrory.
James Tennyson and James Fryers aim to extend their unbeaten records in Tallinn, Estonia on Saturday night.
Tennyson, the Celtic featherweight title holder, is hoping for a British title eliminator next year.
The Belfast man takes on Latvian Sergejs Logins and should stay on track for his British title eliminator with Aberdeen's undefeated Darren Traynor, which is scheduled to take place early next year.
Fryers, unbeaten in 10 fights, is targeting a shot at the British super-featherweight title in 2016.
The 23-year-old Belfast man meets Latvian Ruslans Berdimuradovs.