Wayne McCullough

Wayne is the former WBC bantamweight champion, who defended his title 3 times before moving up in weight to fight for the jr. featherweight title where he lost a close decision to Daniel Zaragoza. I thought Wayne would be a good interview since he is about to take on the biggest challenge of his career in a fight against featherweight champion Naseem Hamed. After a couple of weeks of playing phone tag with his promoter America Presents and then his lawyer/agent, I was finally able to present Wayne with my questions. I was told Wayne did not have much time on his hands as he was in the final stages of his training camp for the Hamed fight. He was however kind enough to answer all my questions with brief and to the point answers. So I thank Mr. McCullough and the all the people who made this interview possible.

BW: At what age did you start boxing and what got you started in boxing.

McCullough: I started boxing at the age of 8, when I went along to the
gym my 2 older brothers.
BW: You were the 1992 Olympian for Ireland and came away from the games
with a Silver medal. Was there any kind of special ceremonies when you
came home and what did you remember most from the Olympics.

McCullough: There were alott of special events when I got home for the
Olympics. The most memorable moment was standing on the rostrum after
winning my Silver medal.

BW: Was there anyone in the amateurs who when you fought him, you thought
to yourself "That guy is going to be a champion some day" or did you 
fight anyone in the amateurs who is now a champion or a contender.

McCullough: I fought both Tim Austin and Arturo Gatti, with victories
over both.

BW: I think every fighter should have a stern test before they go into
a title fight. I remember watching your fight with Victor Rabanales and
thinking this fight was going to help you in the long run even if you
lost. What do you remember of that fight.

McCullough: I remember Rabanales being very awkward and he punched hard.
He had alott of experience and I learned a lot. He was also the number
1 contender. I had to fight him in a elimination bout for the 
bantamweight title.

BW: I have allot of respect for fighters who win a world title on the 
road. You won your title in Japan, can you tell me of some of the 
difficulties if any that you had before or during the fight.

McCullough: There were no difficulties surrounding the fight in Japan.
It was a great experience for me, but I dont believe I got the 
recognition I deserved for beating the champion. Before the fight he
(Yasuei Yakushiji) was rated the biggest puncher and the best boxer
in that division, but after I beat him it was forgotten about. Everyone
thought I was going to lose but I proved them wrong.

BW: Everything went great for you until you ran into Daniel Zaragoza in 
Boston. I saw that fight and thought Zaragoza pulled out a close victory.
Why was a rematch not made right away.

McCullough: I thought, and still do that I won that fight against 
Zaragoza. My promoter offered him $ 750,000 for a rematch but he turned
it down.

BW: Zaragoza was fading in the late rounds and with your stamina, if that
fight was to be a 15 rounder like they used to do you would have probably
won that fight. Do you wish they would go back to 15 round fights, it 
seems the extra 3 rounds would help a fighter with your style.

McCullough: I would love to be boxing 15 rounds as I'm a slow starter. I
finish the fight as I'm starting round one.

BW: Everyone says you really dont miss something until it is gone, what 
is it that you missed the most after you lost the title.

McCullough: I never lost the title. I vacated the bantamweight title. I 
was moving up to capture the jr. featherweight title (against Zaragoza).
I never felt a felling of loss.
BW: You have now fought under the rules of the American boxing commissions
and the greatly respected British Boxing Board or Control. Are there
major differences between the two or do you find one stricter than the

McCullough: Both governing bodies are similar.

BW: Your next fight is going to be against Naseem Hamed, whose main asset
is his power and unorthodox style. How do you prepare for his unorthodox
style since finding a sparring partner to imitate his style must be near

McCullough: I prepare for every fight to be 100 % mentally and physically

BW: Hamed is also known for his long ringwalks which have upset some of
his opponents. What are you going to do doing his ringwalk.

McCullough: His ringwalk has nothing to do with the fight so it wont 
bother me. I'm just going to keep relaxed and warm.

BW: I have read and heard there was some bad blood generated between you
and Hamed in a card in Dublin where both of you fought. Is there any
truth to that or is it just hype for the fight.

McCullough: There is no bad blood between us even though Naseem seems
to think there is. He was on my undercard in Dublin and after the fight 
he came into my dressing room with a proposition. "You beat everyone in
America and I'll beat everyone over here, and then we'll fight". Well
this it it!!
BW: Some fighters dont like to watch tapes of their opponents while 
others let their trainers watch the fights and devise a strategy. Do you
watch any tapes to prepare for your opponents.

McCullough: Sometimes I'll watch the tapes of my opponents but I usually
leave that up to my trainer. He'll then analyze it and tell how to beat

BW: You are moving up in weight to take this fight. Is this a one time
move up to featherweight or do you want to stay and fight at that weight.

McCullough: I've fought successfully at featherweight a few times. I may
stay there, but we'll wait and see where the options are.

BW: Could you still make the bantamweight limit if a fight with Eric 
Morales should materialise.

McCullough: I can make 122 lbs. (jr. featherweight) easily. I'm still
the number 1 contender for Morales' title. That could be a future fight
for me.
BW: This fight could fill stadiums in England or Ireland, do you wish the
fight could take place in England or Ireland instead of New Jersey.

McCullough: Of course I'd have liked this fight to be in Britain or 
Ireland, but it doesn't matter where I beat him.

BW: You are known for you tremendous work rate and for always throwing
punches in the ring. Is there anything you do in the gym that enables you
to keep up that kind of pace.

McCullough: I train just the way I fight.
BW: What made you sign with America Presents which was a new promotional
company back then over some of the bigger promoters in America or Europe.

McCullough: Mat Tinley was my manager before he started his promotional
company, America Presents. It was a obvious move.

BW: You have only fought 4 times in Ireland, it would seem that you could
make more money fighting in Ireland than the USA. Why don't you fight in 
Ireland more.

McCullough: The money comes from the promoter and T.V, so it doens't
matter where my fights are, I make the same money.

BW: Will you be training in Vegas for this fight and how has training 
gone up to this point.

McCullough: I will be training in Las Vegas. Training is going great

BW: You have switched trainers again, how has that affected your training
and can this help you at all.

McCullough: I'd been with Thell Torrence since the beginning of my pro
career and Kenny has trained me for quite a few of my fights along with
Thell. Kenny is now with me every day and concentrates on me alone.

BW: You have now relocated to America, but do you still keep a eye on 
the Irish boxing scene or see any potential world champions coming out
of Ireland.

McCullough: I talk to a few of the up and coming fighters from Ireland.
I hope someday they'll be as successful as I am.

BW: Boxing is not a business that lends itself to long carrers at the 
smaller weights. What are your intrests outside of boxing and what do 
you want to do when you retire. 

McCullough: When I retire, even though I've a few years left in me! I'd
like to commentate on fights or train kids. Outside of boxing I like to
spend time with my wife and baby daughter. I also like to golf and run.