15 January 2009 – By Mark Doyle
Former WBC bantamweight world champion Wayne McCullough has told irish-boxing.com that he has no intention of retiring just yet and has his heart set on a clash with Bernard Dunne.
McCullough intimated after last years shock stoppage defeat at the hands of Juan Ruiz in The Cayman Islands that he was ready to call time on his illustrious career.
The Pocket Rocket made no formal announcement regarding his future plans, though, and, despite what is now nearly seven months of inactivity, he claims that he remains fighting fit and eager for a return to the ring.
Indeed, McCullough has his sights set on what would be a fascinating match-up with former European super-bantamweight champion Dunne.
Its the one fight out there that everyone in Ireland wants to see, he told irish-boxing.com.
When people visit me in Vegas or when I come home for a few days, they ask me, when are you fighting Bernard Dunne?
To start with, me and Bernard are friends. But Ive fought my friends in the amateurs. Id sign a contract right here and now.”
McCullough is keeping himself busy with his promotional role with the UFC and is currently in Dublin ahead of Saturday’s event at the O2 Arena.
Unsurprisingly, he intends to kill two birds with one stone, though, by trying to negotiate a meeting with Dunne during his stay in the Republic.
“Im going to meet with Brian Peters [Dunne’s promoter] this week and the people want to see it. We could do it in the O2 Arena or in the Odyssey Arena in Belfast,” he argued.
Everybody is interested in it. The fans want to see it and Id be more than willing to oblige. I shake Bernards hand getting into the ring and win, lose or draw Id shake his hand getting out of it.
Bernards fought a few guys with no name lately and nobodys really interested. Hes fighting in front of 1,500 people. If we fought wed get 10,000.
Im not going to badmouth Bernard because were buddies but this is a business and I think this fight makes sense.
There are those that believe that McCullough, now 38, should walk away from the sport he has served so well over the past two decades.
Indeed, there are those that fear for the former Olympians long-term health given the amount of wars he was involved in down through the years.
However, McCullough is in no doubt that he still has what it takes to compete at the top level.
Im not going to retire until I know Ive got nothing left. Im not going to end up punch drunk and talking to myself. I still think Ive got a couple of fights left in me, he insists.
The way I look at it Bernards got nothing to lose. Hes a young kid, hes about ten years younger than me.
If I lose it might be the end for me but if he loses he can back again. Plus, if Bernards people think Im done itll be an easier fight for him and I wouldnt be any worse than the guys hes been fighting
But I know Im not done because I havent been getting calls from anybody. If youre a former world champion and youre finished, you get called out every week because they want your name on their resume but I havent been getting calls from anybody.
Im still working out twice a day, I was out running through OConnell Street at five oclock this morning.
If Im done I wouldnt still be doing that. Its still there, hopefully its still there.