The 32-year-old former World Boxing Council bantamweight titlist scored an impressive TKO at 2:12 minutes of the fourth stanza in the scheduled 10-rounder at York Hall to make a triumphant return to British shores after a lengthy battle for a boxing license there.
McCullough, who took apart his younger foe with a nonstop barrage of punches, had previously been barred from fighting in Britain after a cyst — since deemed non-threatening by American medical experts — was found in his head.
“I want to fight more and I want to be world champion again,” said McCullough, who improved his professional record to 25-3 (16 KOs).
McCullough’s performance against a relentless opponent six years his junior belied his age and enhanced his reputation as one of the world’s top fighters in the 122- and 126-pound divisions.
Dubbed the “Hurricane” for his aggressive style, Maisa went toe-to-toe with McCullough from the first bell but was, over the course of the fight, broken down by the Belfastman’s firepower.
Both fighters came out winging punches in the first round, though by the end of the session, it was McCullough winning the exchanges with his sharper and harder shots.
In the second round, McCullough was repeatedly on target with his left jab and punishing left hook as he began to take the wind out of the “Hurricane.”
Going into the third round, Maisa, who entered the ring with a respectable 17-3 (11 KOs) ledger, was told by his corner to lure the Irishman into a brawl in the middle of the ring.
It was costly advice as the London-based African bit off more than he could chew against a fighter dubbed the “Pocket Rocket” for his high-octane style. McCullough had his biggest round of the short contest in the third, rocking Maisa with whipping left hooks to both the head and body, and straight rights.
At the end of the round, Maisa, albeit still game, was on wobbly legs and ready to go. McCullough obliged him in the fourth by trapping him on the ropes and administering a severe beating that ended with the referee’s merciful intervention.
The victor received an ovation from the standing room only crowd at York Hall on the outskirts of London and expressed his desire to stay busy while homing in on another world title shot.
“I want to get another three fights in before April,” McCullough said. “I want to be busy. I’m 32 years old so I have got to stay busy.”
Frank Warren, his new promoter, intends to keep McCullough busy while trying to line up his star charge for a world championship match. McCullough’s next fight is scheduled for Oct. 19 in Glasgow on the undercard of the Scott Harrison-Juan Pablo Chacon WBO featherweight showdown.
“Frank Warren has said he can get me a fight for the world featherweight title. But I believe I could win Willie Jorrin’s world title as a super bantam. I feel fit and sharp,” McCullough said.
“After that I want to go for Marco Antonio Barrera. I have always fought the best and everybody says he is the best featherweight in the world since he beat Eric Morales and Naseem Hamed.
“I will know when the time is right for me to get out of the sport, but there are some big fights still in me. Two years ago my whole world was caving in. Now I have the chance to get out on my terms.”