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Marco McCullough forced to retire from professional boxing through injury

Marco McCullough after his win over Arnoldo Solano at the SSE Arena, Belfast in April 2018 (William Cherry/Presseye)
Marco McCullough after his win over Arnoldo Solano at the SSE Arena, Belfast in April 2018 (William Cherry/Presseye)

Belfast boxer Marco McCullough has announced his intention to retire from professional boxing due to injury.

The current IBF European Super-Featherweight champion, McCullough hasn't boxed since his win over Declan Geraghty in May due to the undisclosed injury.

The 30-year-old was due to take on Viorel Simion back in October at the Ulster Hall, but was forced to pull out because he was physically unable to compete.

Now, it has emerged the injury is a lot more serious than initially thought, and it has ended McCullough's career before he reached his peak.

The Belfast man won his first title in his ninth fight in 2013, defeating Willie Casey at the Odyssey Arena to take the Irish featherweight title, before adding the WBO European featherweight title with victory over Martin Parlagi at the Waterfront Hall in 2014.

Defeats followed to Zoltan Kovacs and Isaac Lowe as his career stalled slightly, but he bounced back by winning the WBO Inter-Continental Featherweight title by beating Luis Lugo at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in November 2016.

He came up just short against Ryan Walsh in his bid to win the British featherweight title in May 2017, but finished his career with a flourish, defeating Rudy Encarnacion and Geraghty in back-to-back fights to win the IBO International and IBF European super-featherweight crowns.

McCullough retires with a 22-4 record in the professional game, having held five different titles at some point during his career.

"I haven't taken this decision lightly but the risk to my health just isn't worth it, I have to think of my longevity & put my family first for once," read McCullough's statement on Twitter.

"Although I feel I haven't fulfilled my full potential in achieving my dream of being world champ, I'm going out on a high and I've been a part of some excellent fights & picked up a few belts along the way.

"Thank you to all who helped me out along the way including coaches, sponsors, promoters & most importantly the fans!"

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