Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Marc McCullough ready to land Irish crown

Tough task: Marc McCullough in the big fight at the Odyssey

Marc McCullough could find himself in the fight of the night at the Odyssey Arena this Saturday but his camp know that some fear it is too much, too soon for him to be tangling with Willie Casey.

Limerick man Casey's CV includes a Prizefighter victory, European title success and a world title attempt – against the man Carl Frampton would one day love to fight, Guillermo Rigondeaux.

In stark contrast, Shankill Road warrior McCullough has not gone more than four rounds and will be having his first 10 rounder when he clashes with Casey for the vacant Irish featherweight title on the supporting bill to Frampton's European title fight with Jeremy Parodi.

McCullough's manager and coach John Breen accepted the game without flinching and is adamant that his young protege will add another victory to his record of seven wins and a solitary defeat.

Breen said: "I know that people believe this is too soon for Marc, but I know what he can do and I have seen him spar Willie and that was two years ago when Willie was the European champion.

"He hurt Willie in those sparring sessions and he hurt him to the body which is what Rigondeaux did as well. Of course sparring is different to the pressure of a fight but I have no concern about Marc handling the pressure.

"Some fighters would maybe find the Odyssey an intimidating place but Marc is relishing the chance of being on Carl's bill because he wants to go and show the public his potential.

"Of course we have to respect Willie's experience but power changes everything and Marc will bridge the gap in experience because of his power.

"Yes, he is stepping up from four and six-rounders but he likes the fact that he can pace himself. It's a great opportunity for him and I've no doubt that he will grab it.

"And when he wins the Irish title then that should act as a springboard to bigger and better things."

The Odyssey show, which is close to a sell-out, will also feature rising Belfast prospects Ryan Burnett, Daniel McShane and James Tennyson.

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