McCullough aiming high

Jamie Roberts
30/01/2016 7:31am

Marco McCullough has set his sights on emulating his uncle and lifting the Commonwealth title the next time he steps into the ring.

The Belfast boxer goes up against unbeaten Lancashire fighter Isaac Lowe for the featherweight version of the belt on the undercard to Carl Frampton vs Scott Quigg on 27 February and he is determined to follow in the footsteps of his uncle Tommy Waite, who lifted the title at bantamweight level in 2000.

McCullough said: "It would be a dream come true to do the same as my uncle and lift a Commonwealth title. It is giving me extra motivation in this camp and I know this is the fight that could open a lot of doors in my career.

"Fighting for the title on one of the biggest shows in the UK is a dream and many boxers don't get this opportunity so I am grateful for it."

The 26-year-old believes that being part of Barry McGuigan's stable at Cyclone Promotions gives him the advantage in this bout, but he isn't taking his competition lightly. He added: "Without Cyclone I would never have had the chance to be on all the big shows they have put me on and that has really helped my career progress.

"However, I do have a lot of respect for Isaac. I think he's a great boxer and comes with an undefeated record, so he'll be confident as he's never felt defeat before, but I believe that I've fought at a higher level and that experience will help me in the fight."

McCullough succumbed to a surprise defeat - the second of his career - when he fought Zoltan Kovacs in Germany last July, but he has since bounced back with two impressive victories - the latest which he took at short notice against experienced Spaniard Sergio Prado. Of the upset, he said: "The fight taught me a lot. I made a lot of mistakes in the camp and made the weight the wrong way. This showed in the fight as I was weak, but I've since brought on board a nutritionist and it's improved me so much. 

"The fight against Prado was very important and I took a lot away from it. He is experienced and a very tricky opponent and I know it was a dangerous fight to take on a few weeks notice, but it has given me a lot of confidence."

Looking up to Prince Naseem Hamed as a youngster because of the way he was able to put on a show, McCullough has already gathered a huge fan following and, although his feet are firmly on the ground, he isn't afraid to look ahead to the prospect of filling out arenas himself. "Boxing is a business and you need supporters right behind you every fight. I am lucky to have a big following already and I think this has been helped with the way Carl Frampton has made boxing so big in Northern Ireland. 

"Being able to showcase my skills on his shows has gained me a lot of support. I hope to put on great performances and build my support and maybe one day I could fill the Odyssey (now the SSE Arena) in Belfast!

"Like every boxer, I have goals and I believe that if I reach my goals easily, then I haven't set them high enough. I want to become a world champion and I'm willing to sacrifice so much to try to make it there."