Lockdown has left Tyrone McCullagh stewing on defeat

Lockdown has left Tyrone McCullagh stewing over defeat

Published On Monday, May 11, 2020By British Boxing News
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Tyrone McCullagh didn't leave his room for 10 days after defeat

Tyrone McCullagh (14-1, 6KOs) has said the coronavirus lockdown has further extended the deep disappointment he felt after his first career defeat.

Unbeaten in his first 14 bouts, the Derry fighter lost on points to long-reigning British featherweight champion Ryan Walsh (30-2-2, 12KOs) in the semi-final of the MTK Golden Contract tournament in February.

"Nobody wants to lose, obviously, but it hit me a lot harder than I expected," he told BBC Radio Foyle.

"I was very down and didn't leave my room for 10 days after the fight.

"It would have been nice to get over that by getting back in the ring and getting a win straight away, but I've been left to stew on it."

The unanimous points defeat by Cromer's Walsh, who stopped Cuban Hairon Socarras (22-1-3, 14KOs) in the preceding quarter-finals, was a bruising one for McCullagh, but the 29-year-old is now determined to learn from the experience.

"I'm trying to turn the defeat into as much of a positive as I can as it was an invaluable experience," the 2010 Commonwealth Games quarter-finalist continued.

"Obviously it was a big risk for me to enter the that tournament. I was very inexperienced compared to the rest of the fighters in it, and of course I was moving up a weight, but I don't regret it.

"It would be a real shame if I don't learn from it and try to change some of the aspects of how I box. I do believe I will come back a better fighter for it."

When exactly the 5ft 6in southpaw will get to prove what he has learnt is unclear, with no definite date confirmed for when fighters can return to the ring competitively.

The sport is gearing up for a behind-closed-doors return in the UK in June and McCullagh said that he will never take training for granted again.

"It's difficult to know when we will be able to return, though I would like to think boxing could be able to return around June or July," he said.

"I imagine I would want about eight to 10 weeks in the gym before I could get fighting-fit, so I could maybe be back fighting again before September.

"I'm desperate to get back in the ring and if it has to be behind closed doors then it is what it is. It might feel more like a sparring session, but it would be the same for both fighters.

"Boxers can sometimes complain about having to do 10-week-long training camps and watch our diet - but what I wouldn't give now to be in Dublin putting in a 10-week shift."

As a former mental health nurse, McCullagh has promoted the NHS on his shorts during fights in the past and he was keen to praise the ongoing work of his fellow colleagues amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

"I've taken a step back from nursing recently to focus more on boxing, but nursing will always be close to my heart and I will always try to promote it anyway I can," he said.

"The job they are doing is unbelievable, they are worked to the bone but it's great to see them getting so many plaudits. They are fully deserved."

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