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Idled McCullough awaits doc’s judgment on cyst

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Jay Mwamba

Wayne McCullough’s boxing career remains in limbo while the former world bantamweight champ awaits final word from UCLA on the condition of a cyst in his head.

"If UCLA say to me there’s no problem at all, I’ll fight again," McCullough said from his Las Vegas base last week.

The last word from UCLA, according to the 30-year-old ex-World Boxing Council bantamweight titlist, was that it was consulting top neurological experts around the country before making a decision on whether it poses a danger to his health.

"I know the doctors are checking out things thoroughly," McCullough said, adding, "no news is good news."

The Belfastman, however, revealed that he had known about the cyst for five years, and that he had been told that it might be congenital.

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"I do have a cyst," he said. "The doctor said I had a cyst in 1995, and [that] I may have had it when I was born."

He said that he had two MRIs one in 1993 and another in ’95, in Belfast and Dublin, respectively, and passed a British Boxing Board of Control test before a fight in Belfast in 1995.

"The cyst was not caused by boxing and it is not on the brain," McCullough said. "It’s on the left side of my head, in the space between the brain and the skull."

"The UCLA doctors are not sure whether if it bursts it will cause any damage."

McCullough’s ring career was thrown in doubt last month when a MRI before a super bantamweight non-title match with Hungarian champion Sandor Koczek in Belfast on Oct. 21 revealed what appeared to be a two-inch cyst on his brain.

A second MRI carried out in Dublin’s Tallaght Hospital was negative, but Irish doctors who looked at both the Dublin and Belfast scans said the cyst still exists.

The bout with Koczek was canceled, and McCullough advised to seek a third opinion on his return to the United States.

McCullough was upset with how the matter was handled by the BBBC, who didn’t notify him of his fight’s cancellation until the day before the bout.

"The way it was handled in Belfast was a disgrace," McCullough said. "I was not told until the day before the fight and I was the last to know. Even Matt Tinley and Dan Gossen [his promoters in the U.s.] knew before me. They [BBBC] waited for six days after the test to tell me."

McCullough said he angrily confronted BBBC chairman Simon Block about this at the Lennox Lewis-David Tua weigh-in in Las Vegas two weeks ago, demanding an explanation.

"Block told me even if UCLA pass me, ‘We’ll never give you a license in Britain,’ " McCullough said.

With a record of 23-3 since turning pro eight years ago, McCullough has fought some of the best fighters of his generation, from bantamweight to featherweight.

Renowned for his high work rate which earned him the nick-name "Pocket Rocket," and a granite chin, his three defeats were all close and disputed decisions to greats Daniel Zaragoza, Prince Naseem Hamed and Erik Morales.

McCullough was a silver medallist at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, and later held the World Boxing Council bantamweight crown from 1995 until ’97 when he relinquished it to move up to super bantamweight.

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