22 May 2008 – by Mark Doyle
Wayne McCullough will make his long-awaited return to the ring on June 20 when he takes on Juan Ruiz in the Cayman Islands.
The former WBC bantamweight world champion has not fought since being stopped by Oscar Larios in July of 2005 but he insists that he is fighting fit and ready to go.
“People will probably say this is a comeback but, in truth, I never retired,” McCullough, 37, stated.
“I lost my last fight against Oscar Larios going for a world title. Most recently, I was supposed to fight in Belfast last December, but my opponent, Kiko Martinez, didn’t make weight, so the fight was called off and I just kept training and getting ready to fight when the right opportunity presented itself. I’ve sparred somewhere between 600 and 700 rounds in the gym in the past three years.
“I have respect for the kid [Ruiz],” he continued. “I remember watching him fight in Vegas. He’s never been stopped. He’s a durable guy, but he’s never fought at a World Champion’s level.
I thank the kid for taking the fight against me. He’s a tough guy and a world-ranked fighter and that’s what I want. I want to fight a guy who can challenge me.
“I’ve never been to the Cayman Islands and I’m really looking forward to fighting there. But I’m not going there on holiday. I’m going for business.”
McCullough recently told irish-boxing.com that he would love a crack at European super-bantamweight champion Rendall Munroe but The Pocket Rockets manager, Dan Goossen, believes that a win over Ruiz will propel the former Olympian into world title contention.
“Wayne’s right when he says this is a tough fight, but it’s this type of challenge that will immediately catapult him into a World Championship bout with a victory,” Goossen claimed.
To have an accomplished and popular world-renowned boxer such as Wayne fighting in this beautiful Caribbean paradise gives the local Cayman fans the opportunity to see one of the hardest working fighters in our sport.
I can assure you, Wayne and Ruiz will give every ounce of power they have inside them to win. It will be nonstop action!”
McCullough versus Diaz is the chief supporting fight on a bill headlined by undefeated super-middleweight Andre Ward, who is taking on Jerson Ravelo.