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McCullough tuneup bout to get TV coverage

February 15, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Jay Mwamba

With a world title shot against either Erik Morales or British star Prince Naseem Hamed looming on the horizon, Wayne McCullough goes up against Colombian journeyman Juan Polo-Perez in a tune-up bout in Corpus Christi, Texas, next Tuesday, May 19.

The scheduled 10-round featherweight fight at Memorial Coliseum will be the main event on the USA cable network’s “Tuesday Night Fights” series next week. It will also be McCullough’s second fight after a 15-month layoff. He defeated Mexican Antonio Salas on points in Connecticut last month.

McCullough’s trainer, Thell Torrance, said on Monday that the Las Vegas-based Belfastman was at least one fight away from another world championship bid. “It will be either against Morales or Naseem,” Torrance said.

Morales holds the World Boxing Council super bantamweight crown that McCullough failed to wrestle off Daniel Zaragoza in January last year, while the flamboyant Hamed, a protTgT of Dubliner Brendan Ingle, is the IBF featherweight (126-pound) titleist.

But it’s unlikely that a McCullough-Hamed fight would be for the latter’s title. “We wouldn’t like to fight Naseem at 126 pounds since we’d be at a disadvantage,” said Torrance, whose charge, a former would champ at 118 pounds, now fights best at 122 pounds (super bantamweight).

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“We’d ask Naseem to come down to 123 or 124 pounds,” Torrance said.

Torrance, however, said that while Morales would be a tougher opponent for McCullough than the explosive punching Hamed, he’d prefer that his charge have a couple of more fights before tackling the self-acclaimed “Prince.”

“Morales is a tough, strong, kid, and would be a tough fight mainly because of his style. For Naseem, we’d like to have a couple more fights to get Wayne in the same shape he was when he fought [Yaseui] Yakushiji,” Torrance said.

McCullough outpointed Yakushiji in Japan three years ago for the WBC bantamweight belt.

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