awards2Marc McCullough posted his most impressive victory to date when the Belfast featherweight forced Dmitry Kirillov’s corner to retire their man after eight punishing rounds. Marc made a successful defence of his WBO European title in the scheduled 10-rounder.

Even though he was not made to work as intensely as in his last bout against Martin Parlagi, the way Marc dominated and demoralised a seasoned former world champion shows that he is ready for the next level. 24-year-old McCullough was too big and strong for his 35-year-old opponent who once held the IBF belt at super-flyweight.

The Russian bobbed and weaved to try and avoid Marc’s laser jab but his nose was bleeding from the early stages. Kirillov did offer some sporadic left hooks to keep McCullough focused but the Shankill Road man stayed on task and started planting his feet more from the fifth round onwards. Referee Steve Gray was starting to take a closer look at the veteran in the eighth session but it was soon academic as Kirillov failed to come out for the ninth round and left the ring holding his left arm in discomfort.

McCullough is now turning his attention to a crack at the British and Commonwealth titles.

“He was very tricky and a bit frustrating,” said McCullough. “Kirillov’s a former world champion and John Breen was shouting at me from the corner to use the jab so that’s what I was trying to do. At times I just wanted to stand and fight with him and I ended up chasing him around the ring.

“Coming out in front of all those people was brilliant,” he added.

Conrad Cummings was made to work for his 60-54 win over Poland’s Robert Talarek. Appearing on the first televised bout of the evening gave Cummings the opportunity to show what he was all about and plenty of grit and resolve were needed as Talarek pushed hard.

Cummings has been involved in some high-quality sparring sessions of late and is visibly improving under the tutelage of Shane McGuigan. The jab and left hook were landing crisply in the opener but as the bout wore on Conrad looked to hold more as his opponent’s output increased. High on confidence after defeating an 11-0 prospect in his last contest Talarek started tagging the Coalisland middleweight. Cummings’ fitness was the key in the final session as Talarek started to feel the pace and was looking for breathers. Promoter Blaine McGuigan said they are aiming to get Cummings out again a couple of times before the end of the year.

“It was a night to impress but I realised that he was here to stay and I showed my class,” said Cummings. “I wouldn’t call him a journeyman. He was a game guy coming here to win this and hearing of his reputation motivated me. He caught me with a couple of wee shots and it was a welcome to professional boxing. When I’ve got 10 fights I won’t be making those mistakes.”

Going on after the main event was no easy task but light-welterweight Matthew Wilton stayed focused to defeat Poland’s Adam Cieslak. ‘Speedy’ Wilton earned a 40-36 on referee John Lowey’s scorecard.

Limerick’s Willie Casey stopped George Gachechiladze in the sixth and final round of their featherweight bout.

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