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McCullagh is eyeing up gold after classy display


Slick skills: Tyrone McCullagh on his way to victory
Slick skills: Tyrone McCullagh on his way to victory
David Kelly

By David Kelly

Tyrone McCullagh says he is on track to win the featherweight Golden Tournament and seal a major title shot, following his victory on Friday night at the York Hall, Bethnal Green.

While the Derry man easily defeated the game but outclassed Razaq Najib, McCullagh admits to feeling he needs to raise his game to make sure that he can conquer whoever comes his way in the semi-finals.

Following Friday's quarter-finals in the York Hall, he was joined in the last four draw by Commonwealth champion Leigh Wood, British champion Ryan Walsh and former British super-bantam champion Jazza Dickens.

While McCullagh is eager for the semi-finals to come around, he knows that whoever he is drawn against will offer the hardest test of his career so far.

"I believe more than ever that I can go all the way in this tournament. I'm going to be a nightmare for anyone," said McCullagh.

"My style is going to be very difficult for anyone to deal with. I know that I have the style and the skill to win this tournament and I can't wait for the semi-finals. The talk is that it will probably be in February so that's the only disappointing thing because it means I can't enjoy Christmas!

"But these are the sacrifices that you have to make. So I'll have to make sure I don't over do the Turkey and stuffing. I'm looking forward to the semi-finals because they're going to be two good match-ups."

As he looks ahead to the last four, McCullagh is eager to refine his natural counter-punching style to be more potent against a higher quality of opponent.

"I need to start taking my chance to plant my feet so I can land harder shots. I need to do that against better fighters and that's what it will be like in the semi-finals," added McCullagh.

"I did land some good body shots on Friday night but I felt I could have done more because I could see that Najib was tiring a bit. I have my natural style but I need more than that."

Meanwhile, featherweight Michaela Walsh enjoyed a unanimous decision win over Mali's Carmara Fatoumata on Saturday to seal a place in the at the Women's World Championship in Siberia.

The Belfast woman will now meet Russia's Liudmila Vorontsova tomorrow morning.

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