Both McCullough and his wife/manager, Cheryl, confirmed last week that he will fight stablemate Scott Harrison for the WBO featherweight crown in early March, possibly in the champion’s Glasgow hometown.
Cheryl McCullough said an agreement for the fight had been reached with Frank Warren, who promotes both McCullough and the Scotsman, for what will be the “Pocket Rocket’s” second crack at the WBO crown. His first attempt ended in a decision loss to then titlist Prince Naseem Hamed in Atlantic City on Halloween night 1998.
“The deal is done. It has taken some hard negotiations over the past two weeks but we have finally come to an agreement,” Cheryl said in Belfast.
“A fight with Harrison has always been what Wayne has wanted. I believe it should happen on either March 1 or March 8. I’m just a little surprised that Harrison wants to lose his world title so quickly.”
Harrison, a 25-year-old with an 18-1-1 (9 KOs) record, won the WBO belt off Argentine Julio Pablo Chacon in Glasgow last October with an unimpressed McCullough at ringside.
“I saw a few weaknesses that night which I know I can exploit,” McCullough said. “He has not fought anyone of my class before.”
A former WBC bantamweight champion himself, the Ulsterman believes that Harrison is unlikely to be as daunting a challenge as the other titlists that he has faced.
“I’m just glad the fight is on,” said McCullough, who will be appearing in his seventh world title bout. “Harrison’s a good fighter but not in the class of Hamed or [Erik] Morales.
“When you fight those guys, who are a class above Harrison, you’re fighting the TV networks as well and that won’t be the case with Harrison.
“I’m very confident of becoming world champion again. I’ve always said that I wanted to be a two-time world champion.
“I’ve no doubt that I’ll beat him. Guzman would have been a little harder because he’s a bit of a mover, but Harrison just stands looking for a fight.”
The Harrison camp is aware of the threat the granite-chinned, buzzsaw-like McCullough poses.
Peter Harrison, the champion’s father and trainer welcomed the fight while acknowledging that it would be a stern test for his son.
“We know McCullough is called the ‘Pocket Rocket’ and he’s a really good fighter. He’s [boxed] with good fighters, and he’s never been stopped, so we know he’s a good fighter,” the elder Harrison noted.
Nicknamed “The Real McCoy”, the 5-foot-7 Scott Harrison has been variously described as “the best Scottish boxer for generations” and “the best British boxer in a long time.”
He turned professional in 1996 and won both Commonwealth and British titles in his first 19 fights, before clinching the WBO belt in his 20th bout in the paid ranks.
Harrison’s win over Chacon last October saw him join greats such as Jim Watt and Ken Buchanan in the pantheon of Scottish boxing.
McCullough, who’s 32 and 26-3 (17 KOs) as a pro since winning a silver medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, will go into the match against Harrison with three straight knockouts under his belt since ending a 27-month layoff at the beginning of this year.
He stopped American Alvin Brown in two rounds in Las Vegas last January, dispatched ex-South African champion “Hurricane” Johannes Maisa in four heats in London last Sunday, and last month scored a fourth round KO over Russian Nikolai Eremeev.