McCullough's historic chance


WAYNE McCULLOUGH, the current WBC bantamweight champion challenges for the super-bantamweight title on Saturday night in Boston bidding to become the first Ulsterman to win world titles at two different weights.

Veteran WBC super-bantamweight champion Daniel Zaragoza, who just celebrated his 39th birthday, stands in the way.

McCullough's manager, Matt Tinley said: "Wayne has to be regarded as the greatest Irish fighter ever if he beats Zaragoza and it won't be easy because the Mexican is regarded as the best super-bantamweight in the world, even though he's 39.

"The British media have not given Wayne the credit he deserves - hopefully after he beats Zaragoza they will see that unlike Naseem Hamed he's fighting quality fighters. I've no doubt that if Wayne was a Londoner he would be receiving much more coverage."

Unbeaten McCullough, 26, will vacate the bantamweight crown once he enters the ring at the Hynes Centre in Boston, where he is confident of overcoming the legendary southpaw who once held the WBC bantamweight title and has had three separate reigns at 8st 10lb.

McCullough said: "He's the first southpaw I've fought as a professional but I'm the opposite from everyone else - I seem to find southpaws easier.

"I'll probably figure the guy out in the first round because he'll probably come out bombing so I'm going to be patient."

Zaragoza's classic counter punching and the Ulsterman's non-stop aggression suggests a gruelling fight similar to that in Dublin 10 months ago when McCullough was almost unrecognisable after holding on to his world title on a split decision against another Mexican, Jose Bueno.

McCullough said: "The problem in that fight was that I had a perforated ear drum from the second round onwards and my balance was all messed up though it looked worse than what it was."