Irish champion Gary Cully calls for Paul Hyland Jr or Victor Rabei to step up to the plate

Gary Cully [10(5)-0] has joined the call out party and wants to defend his Irish title against Paul Hyland Jr [20(7)-2(2)] or Victor Rabei [8(2)-0] this summer.

Not long after Eric Donovan called out the entire domestic feather and super featherweight divisions, Luke Keeler muted a clash with Jason Quigley, Darren O’Neill put himself forward to challenge Padraig McCrory and Paddy Gallagher said he wanted a Craig O’Brien fight, Cully has laid bare his wish list.

Top of that wish list is a fight with recent European and British title challenger Hyland.

‘The Diva’ claimed previously that ‘Hylo’ was offered a chance to fight, only for the Belfast fighter to confirm a fight with former world champion Terry Flanagan.

Cully was meant to fight Maxi Hughes on that same April card, only for the current pandemic to prevent it from taking place.

The Kildare fighter now argues that it will be six months before English or any foreign opponents can come to Ireland and believes the two top lightweight names should trade leather as a result.

“It just seems to make sense , we were both meant to fight on the same show in April against English opponents which was cancelled, so we’re both left with no opponents,” Cully says when speaking to Irish-boxing.com.

“There’s talk of shows happening behind closed doors but it’s going to have to be Ireland v Ireland as opponents can’t be flown in for a while. With that in mind I think it makes perfect sense for us to fight. Plus it should be easy to make. Lots of people seem interested in seeing it; I want it, so if he wants it there’s no reason it won’t happen.”

Hyland may be forgiven for playing it safe and not jeopardizing the chance to scalp a former world champ.

The Irish champion believes that would be an ill advised path to take again arguing it would leave his fellow lightweight without a fight in six months.

“My question would be why wouldn’t he take it? Nobody knows how long he’s going to be holding out for the Flanagan fight, it could be 6 months or more, so why not fight while waiting for that?

“We both have camps behind for the fights in April that were cancelled, were both in shape, if we don’t fight then we don’t get paid, so why let a camp go to waste and wait a possible 6 months for the Flanagan fight?

“Why not get paid now? I don’t think I should need to persuade him to be honest I think it’s a no brainer. Saying he’s holding out for the Flanagan fight would be a bit of a cop out in my opinion. Fighters should be ready to fight.”

The rangy tall for the weight Pete Taylor trained fighter also suggests Flanagan could be the prize for the winner.

“In a dream world my next two would be Hyland and Flanagan. Myself and Hyland while all this is going on and the winner to fight Flanagan when it’s all over.

“Realistically I want to be at world level within 12-18 months so they’re the type of fights that I want to be in. That’s the type of opposition I want to be up against and I believe when I do step up to that level that’s when you’ll see the best of me. So yeah I’m an ideal world it would be Hyland then Terry, whether it actually plays out that way is another thing, but we’ll see.”

The call out didn’t end there. Cully reserved some breath to name drop BUI Celtic light welterweight champ Victor Rabei. The Kildare man would take on the Moldovan Dub if Hyland wasn’t interested.

“The victor thing is not really something I’d say I want next , but I just have heard him talk of a move to lightweight. Even recently in an interview a week or 2 ago . He’s the Celtic champion at the weight above and again with what’s going on at the minute we’re all in the same boat.

“We all just want to fight and to get paid, so that’s another one that could quite easily be made , if they wanted it,” he adds before suggesting he would move to fight the St Michael’s Inchicore man.

“I would even step up to 140 for that if it meant getting to fight, why not ? We’re not doing anything else.”

Conor Slater, who works with Rabei, said yesterday the Steven O’Rourke trained fighter has American plan – and big ones at that.

However, Cully warns it may take quite sometime before Irish fighters can get close and personal in a ring abroad.

“They say he’s a title fight lined up in the states when this has all passed, that’s all well and good, but when’s that going to be? Probably not this year, plus he hasn’t fought in close to 12 months , so realistically what else is he doing ?

“It’s well and good saying you had a title fight lined up , I had fights lined up too and plans in place also, but the situation were left in it leaves us with nobody to fight but each other, I’ve heard Victor saying he would fight anybody , so why not? Let’s keep active. I’m here to fight, not to talk about fighting,” he adds before claiming he would end that fight early if it came off.

“It only goes one way and it doesn’t go the distance, maybe that’s why they’ll wait it out and take their shot in America when it comes.”

Interesting enough Cully wasn’t mentioned as a possible participant on the all Irish show set for July.

He still seems confident he will get a summer fight, meaning he is being lined up for the August Carl Frampton and Michael Conlan are on course to appear on, or MTK have plans for a more shows?

Cully thinks the latter is possible.

“There will be a couple of shows run behind closed doors over the summer months as far as I know. I know it’s been limited to 5 fights per show, so I can’t tell you exactly what show , but it could definitely happen in the summer providing Paul or Vic wanted it too.”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: [email protected]