|Wayne McCullough: “The time has finally come!”
Interview by Benny Henderson Jr. Doghouse Boxing (June 16, 2008) Doghouse Boxing
It has been nearly three years since former WBC super bantamweight champion Wayne McCullough 27-6 (18) has laced up the gloves and thrown down in some serious ring action. From failed negotiations to fights falling through right at the last minute, McCullough has been grounded. But coming up this Friday night at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in the Cayman Islands, the ‘Pocket Rocket’ will launch off again as he takes on rugged veteran Juan Ruiz 21-5 (6) in what McCullough calls his march to another world title shot.
Since 1993 the fighting Irishman has electrified fight fans. From throw downs against Yasuei Yakushiji, where Wayne earned the world title strap, to unforgettable bouts with Naseem Hamed and Eric Morales, McCullough has proven to be a tough customer.
Now, McCullough has his sights set on another world title and his bid to gain another strap begins this Friday night. In this exclusive interview conducted by Doghouse Boxing, Wayne speaks on his return as well as various topics that surround the world of Wayne McCullough, enjoy.
Benny Henderson Jr.: You are set to face Juan Ruiz June 20th, give the readers your thoughts on your first fight in what has been just about three years.
Wayne McCullough: I feel as though I’m starting over. It’s almost like my pro debut again.
BH: Again it has been three years since you have stepped in the ring, what preparations are you making in readying yourself for this fight to be sure you will not have the ring rust?
WM: I have never stopped training and have kept myself in shape over the past few years. Plus I do things in the gym to keep me sharp!
BH: I am not wanting to harp on negativity, but your last win came nearly four years ago, so we know the importance of this fight and what it means to your career. So in my thoughts I would imagine that there is a lot of pressure on you. How are you dealing with the pressure and what would a win mean not only to your career but to your confidence level?
WM: I don’t feel any pressure going into this fight. People think I’m done so I’ve nothing to lose and my opponent has everything to gain. I think there’ll be more pressure on him. But in saying that I’m honestly not thinking about losing, I’m going in to this fight expecting to win. My first fight with Oscar Larios was a controversial loss and even though my record shows a loss, it was a really close loss that’s why I was given a rematch right away. So even though I haven’t ‘won’ a fight in a while I’ve only ever lost at world level and there’s no shame in that.
BH: Do we call this a comeback?
WM: In some ways it is a comeback but since I never officially retired I see it more as a return to the ring after a very, very long layoff. But the time out of the ring has done my body good. We all know I’ve fought some wars! I have tried unsuccessfully for almost three years to get a fight and now the time has finally come.
BH: What do you know of your opponent as far as his strengths and weaknesses go?
WM: All I know is that he’s a tough, durable kid who has never been stopped. He’s a busy fighter who tends to go the distance in fights.
BH: There has been this whole debate on MMA versus boxing, critics spewing out that boxing is a dying sport and the MMA is the new breed, etc. I know you have ties with the UFC, and of course you are a professional boxer. Give the readers your thoughts on the debate.
WM: I love the UFC and have done since about 2004. Now I work for them and see it from both sides. I’ve seen first hand that UFC fighters are treated much better than I ever was as a boxer. But they are two different sports and I see no reason why I can’t enjoy both.
BH: You have had a few fights fall through the past couple of years, the last being five months back when your opponent Kiko Martinez failed to make weight. How do you deal with all the build up of preparing for a fight physically and mentally to have it just jerked right out from under you right before the fight?
WM: I’m always a week or two away from fighting. Obviously I get disappointed when a fight falls through but I‘ve got to pick myself up again and just get on with it, looking forward to the next one.
BH: Being brutally honest with yourself and the fans, can you see yourself getting a title shot and strapping on another belt?
WM: I wouldn’t be boxing if I didn’t think that could happen.
BH: Is there any message you would like to send out to the fight world, your upcoming opponent or anything you would like to add in closing?
WM: I would like to say thank you to my fantastic fans who have supported me over my unfinished career. It has been a real blessing to me. The Rocket is ready for launch once again! I also want to thank Everlast and PowerBar for their sponsorships and for keeping me clothed and refreshed!
I would like to thank Cheryl McCullough for setting up this interview, and a thanks goes out to Wayne for his time and thoughts.
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