Wayne McCullough

Wayne McCullough

Infobox_Boxer|name= Wayne McCullough

realname= Wayne William McCullough
nickname= The Pocket Rocket
weight= Featherweight
nationality=United States (naturalization)
birth_date= Birth date and age|df=yes|1970|7|7
birth_place= Belfast, Northern Ireland
home= Las Vegas, Nevada
style= Orthodox
total= 33
wins= 27
KO= 18
losses= 6
draws= 0
no contests= 0|

Wayne William McCullough (born 7 July 1970 in Belfast, Northern Ireland) is a professional boxer. During his professional career, which spans back to 1993, he held the WBC world title in the Bantamweight category. [ [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4161/is_20040801/ai_n12902411 "Sunday Mirror"] ]

Amateur career

As an amateur, McCullough won a silver medal for Ireland at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, and a gold medal at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, representing Northern Ireland. [ [http://www.boxrec.com/boxer_display.php?boxer_id=004985 boxrec.com] ]

The medal ceremony for his Commonwealth title was marked by an unusual incident. A technical problem with the public address system made it impossible to play the recording of the Northern Ireland anthem, Londonderry Air. The New Zealand official in charge of the sound, Bob Gibson, promptly jumped into the ring, took the microphone and sang the anthem unaccompanied, using the politically neutral lyrics to "Danny Boy", normally sung to the same tune. [ [http://www.pocketrocketbox.com/askwayne.asp?ps=261 pocketrocketbox.com] ]

McCullough also won a Bronze medal at the World Cup before moving from Northern Ireland to Las Vegas to begin his professional career.

Amateur highlights

*1988 represented Ireland as a Light Flyweight at Seoul Olympic Games. Results were:
**Defeated Fred Mutuweta (Uganda) points
**Lost to Scotty Olson (Canada) points
*1990 Gold Medalist at Flyweight at Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand. Results were:
**Defeated B. Mwangata (Tanzania) points
**Defeated M. Maina (Kenya) points
**Defeated Tshabangu (Zimbabwe) points
*1990 3rd place as a Flyweight at World Cup in Bangkok, Thailand, losing to Serafim Todorov of Bulgaria on points
*1991 competed as a Bantamweight at World Championships in Sydney, Australia. Results were:
**Defeated Felipe Costa (Portugal) TKO 2
**Defeated Joseph Zabakly (Austria) points
**Lost to Enrique Carrion (Cuba) points
*1992 won the Silver medal representing Ireland as a Bantamweight at the Barcelona Olympic Games. Results were:
**Defeated Fred Mutuweta (Uganda) points
**Defeated Ahmed Abbood (Iraq) points
**Defeated Mohammed Sabo (Nigeria) points
**Defeated Gwang-Sik Li (North Korea) points
**Lost to Joel Casamayor (Cuba) points

Professional career

Within a year of moving to Las Vagas, he had won the North American Boxing Federation title. On 30 July 1995, less than 2½ years since turning professional, he won the WBC World Championship by beating the champion Yasuei Yakushiji in Nagoya, Japan.

McCullough successfully defended his title twice before vacating the belt and moving up in weight to challenge super bantamweight champion Daniel Zaragoza but lost via split decision. McCullough unsuccessfully challenged champions Naseem Hamed in 1998, and Erik Morales in 1999. Breaking both of their KO streaks while taking them the distance, Morales stated that McCullough gave him one of the top three fights of his career.

In October 2000, McCullough was returning to his native Belfast for a homecoming fight. Two days before the fight was scheduled to take place, he was told that he had a cyst on his brain, he couldn’t fight again and that one more blow to the head could kill him. McCullough flew back to Las Vegas and was advised by the Nevada Commission to visit the neurosurgery department at UCLA for a more thorough investigation. Within a few weeks the doctor at UCLA, Neil Martin, called to say he had consulted with some of the top neurosurgeons in the USA and they had come to the conclusion that the cyst was not on his brain, but in a space between the brain and the skull - called the arachnoid mater - and that he saw no reason for him to give up his boxing career.

Nethertheless, the British Boxing Board of Control continued to deny him a license. He was relicensed in Nevada and fought again in January 2002. After a very public battle, the BBBC could no longer deny him a license and later that same year McCullough stepped back into a British ring. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/northern_ireland/2078281.stm BBC News] ] Since then he has had mixed success, winning five fights but losing to Scott Harrison and Mexican world champion Oscar Larios on two occasions. The result of his first fight with Larios is widely disputed. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/boxing/4584451.stm BBC News] ] [ [http://www.eastsideboxing.com/news.php?p=4028&more=1 eastsideboxing] ]

In 2005 McCullough became a United States citizen. [ [http://www.rte.ie/sport/2005/0907/mcculloughw.html RTE] ] He is known for his dogged, relentless attacking style and has never been knocked down in a professional bout. [ [http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/boxing/news/story?id=2166844 ESPN] ] [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/boxing/1756877.stm BBC News] ] In November 2005, McCullough released his autobiography, "Pocket Rocket: Don't Quit", in the UK and Ireland. He went on a publicity tour to promote the book, which reached #2 on the best sellers list.

In 2007, Wayne McCullough joined the Ultimate Fighting Championship organisation as an official spokesperson. He plans to open a gym and begin training fighters, including Alex Arthur and Enrique Ornelas. [ [http://www.irish-boxing.com/july06/27_July_2006_McCullough.htm irish-boxing.com] ] On 1 December 2007

Return to challange of Kiko Martinez

McCullough had signed to fight Spainiard Kiko Martinez who has just defeated another Irishman, Bernard Dunne at the Point Depot, Dublin for the European super bantamweight title. The fight between McCullough and Martinez was due to take place at Belfast's Kings Hall on 1 December 2007.cite web | author=Derek Bilton| title="WADE INTO WAYNE'S WORLD" | work=Betting Zone| url=http://www.bettingzone.co.uk/story_get.cgi?STORY_NAME=betting/07/11/29/manual_115818.html| accessdate=13 January| accessyear=2008]

McCullough had not fought for over two year and the Kings Hall venue was sold out for the fight. It was agreed that the non title fight would take place at 8st 12lb mark. However, on the day before the fight there was uproar during the weigh-in and the fight was cancelled amid chaotic scenes.cite web | author= | title="Wayne blows his top" | work=Belfast Telegraph | url=http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/article3213502.ece| accessdate=13 January| accessyear=2008]

McCullough had already contracted to fight at 2lb over the 8st 10lb championsiop weight and he weighed in at 8st 9lb. However, Martinez failed to make the agreed weight and was 1.75 lb over the agreed weight.cite web | author= | title="Big Fight Farce!" | work=Belfast Telegraph | url=http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sport/other-sports/article3213660.ece| accessdate=13 January| accessyear=2008]

Martinez was given a couple of hours to shed the excess weight, but did not return to weigh in again and the scales were closed by a BBBofC official. A furious McCullough stated "I couldn't believe it. He comes in over the weight and then after being asked to take it off he just sits there and does nothing. I just can't believe what has happened. I was ready fight and ready to win and he comes in that much over the weight.".cite web | author= | title="McCullough's comeback bout is off" | work=BBC | url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/boxing/7121318.stm| accessdate=13 January| accessyear=2008]


On 20 June 2008, McCullough fought Juan Ruiz in the Cayman Islands, his first fight in three years. He lost in six rounds, retiring on his stool. Despite being ahead on two of three judges' scorecards after six rounds, he told his corner he could not go on.

The Belfast boxer took the microphone and revealed this would be his swansong.

He said: "I think this is my last fight and I want to thank you all for coming. I am disappointed with the way things went but I just felt I could not go on."

McCullough had not fought since losing a WBC super bantamweight title fight against Oscar Larios in Las Vegas in 2005. [ [http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/sport/other-sports/article3822480.ece Wayne McCullough quits the ring] ]

See also

*List of Irish sportspeople


External links

* [http://www.pocketrocketbox.com Official Website]

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