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McCullough can make his mark in Celtic title bid

By David Kelly

Marc McCullough has been handed an opportunity to show his potential to the British boxing fraternity when he fights for the vacant Celtic featherweight title on September 7 at the Scottish Exhibition Centre.

The Shankill Road man will take on Scotland's Jon Slowey on the supporting bill to the latest World title defence of Ricky Burns.

The 23-year-old, with a solitary controversial defeat on his record, has been struggling to get fights, consequently leading to him boxing a long way out of his division.

His last outing was up at welterweight when he stopped Noel O'Brien on the first ever show at the City Hall in May and now manager/coach John Breen believes he can show his true potential against Slowey.

"We've only been given four weeks notice but Marc has been ticking over in the gym and even before he went on holiday last month he got his weight down to 9st 4lb so he wouldn't put too much on when away," said Breen.

"He's a very dedicated, genuine fighter. Just to get fighting he has taken anything that has come his way, boxing at light-welter and welterweight but featherweight is his natural weight and he makes it easily. So it's been a tough time for him, waiting for an opportunity like this and this is a great chance to show people that he belongs at the top of the division in Britain Slowey is a good boxer and with him boxing at home then of course he is going to be seen as the favourite but Marc is going to be in great shape and I believe he'll grab this opportunity with both hands."

Indeed, Breen feels that McCullough's punching power could well be the decisive factor in the 10-rounder.

Slowey is unbeaten in 14 fights and has already been 10 rounds, having gone the distance with Ian Bailey, while they have a common opponent in Belfast man Eddie Nesbitt. Nesbitt went the distance with Slowey earlier this year, while McCullough stopped in two rounds on his debut in 2011.

Breen added: "Marc has shown his power at the higher weights. The quality of opposition may not have been the highest but if you can stop people at light-welterweight and welterweight, how good will he be at featherweight?

"Marc is one of the hardest punchers I have worked with and as soon as I offered him the fight he said 'yes' right away without even thinking about the purse.

"He's a very good body puncher and he has improved so much since turning pro. He likes the idea of 10 rounds because it means that he can pace himself rather than having to put everything into four rounds.

"This will be his big breakthrough."

Meanwhile, Manny Pacquiao is determined to show that he is not a spent force against American rising star Brandon Rios in Macau on November 24.

"People think that my boxing career has ended after my last fight," said Pacquiao in reference to his defeat Juan Manuel Marquez.

"But my condition was amazing, one of the best. I just got careless and Marquez got a good shot.

"I chose Rios because he's a good fighter, he throws a lot of punches and very aggressive. There's going to be more action in the ring and I can prove that I can still fight and my career is not done yet."

Belfast Telegraph


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