In just a matter of days, unbeaten Irish National Lightweight Champion Gary Cully takes on the Welshman, Craig Woodruff in an eight-round fight on the MTK bill in South Kirkby, Yorkshire. Gary Cully was due to fight Kieran Gething but due to a recent injury, fellow Welshman Woodruff has stepped up and taken the fight on short notice. Gary Cully last fought in February 2020, just before COVID-19 hit the globe and put things on hold. He was scheduled to fight in April, but the pandemic put stop to that, so it was time to get creative and use the spare time to good use.
“During the lockdown, I set up my own training camp which was hard, but I pushed myself and I feel like it has advanced my career by two years. I am further ahead now than I would have been if I did not have all that time on my hands so I see it as a blessing".
A change of opponent for any fighter can be testing, especially with a few weeks before the fight. Due to the change of fighter, Craig Woodruff will bring something different and slight tactical changes will have to be made. Cully does not seem to be fazed by this and states he will just focus on himself.
“Craig is an experienced and crafty fighter. He has fought the likes of Luke Campbell and Martin Ward, but my preparation does not change, I still need to be focused and treat this fight like I do any other which is like a world title fight. Craig has had four wins and one defeat out of his last five fights so his confidence will be high, I am looking forward to the challenge and one I know I will win”.
Cully is being trained by fellow Irishman Peter Taylor who is the father of WBC, WBO, WBA & IBF Lightweight World Champion Katie Taylor. I asked on their relationship and how important it is to have someone you can trust in your corner.
“Peter is the best in the world, tactically and technically he is the best I have ever worked with. We are both learning the professional game as each fight passes and I feel like we complement each other well. We are learning from each other also which helps, and I trust him to tell me where I am going wrong during a fight. I have only been a professional for three years and I am getting better every fight”.
Fighting in Ireland is booming at present, with Katie Taylor dominating the female scene, Carl Frampton looking to challenge for world honours again, Michael Conlan on the rise through the featherweight division and the young fighters such as Gary Cully looking to breakthrough on to the world scene.
“There are exciting times ahead for Irish boxing. Carl won again two weeks ago and looked impressive, Katie Taylor has just won her rematch with Delfine Persoon and Jason Quigley nearly got that dream fight against Canelo so Irish boxing is in a very good place at the minute.”
With Katie Taylor beating Delfine Persoon over the past weekend in there rematch, I was confident that Gary would have something to say about the eagerly anticipated rematch.
“I know Katie was eager to put the controversy from the first fight to bed, it was a close fight last time, but I had her winning the fight. I thought she performed brilliantly again on Saturday night I had her winning 96-94. It was a close fight and I am delighted for Katie. Persoon is a fighter that likes to throw a lot of punches but she did not land enough for me. Katie was slipping the shots well and landed the more telling punches."
Cully will be looking to take his career record to 11 fights with 11 victories and then contest major honours within the next twelve to eighteen months. He will look to win titles in the lightweight division but admitted towards the end of his career, he may move up to 147lbs.
"At this moment in time, I am focusing on winning titles and progressing my career through the 140lbs division. Without looking too far ahead, there is a possibility I may move to 147 towards the back end of my career but as I said, I am just focusing on my next fight".