Gary Cully sees his battle with Viktor Kotochigov as the first step towards a future world title shot. The pair meets on the MTK Fight Night event on March 12 in Bolton.
Undefeated Cully (11-0, 5 KOs) faces Kotochigov (12-1, 5 KOs) for the vacant WBO European lightweight title at the University of Bolton Stadium next Friday, live in the US on ESPN+ in association with Top Rank, and worldwide on IFL TV.
A win would see the Irishman receive a world ranking with the WBO, and he is excited about the huge opportunity ahead of him.
Cully said: “This is a massive fight. I had originally agreed to the fight without a title even being on the line, so for it then to get upgraded to being for the WBO European lightweight title is great.
“It would be my second belt in the space of the year, so it’s a fight I’m really looking forward to. I fought at 140lbs in my last fight, so to be back at lightweight is fantastic as well.
“When I pick up this title, I’ll have become Irish champion and WBO European champion within my first 12 fights, and I’ll then have a world ranking too.
“I want to start climbing up those rankings, and then hopefully I can be within touching distance of a world title shot this time next year.”
In the main event of MTK Fight Night on March 12 Lewis Crocker defends his WBO European welterweight title against Deniz Ilbay. Also on the card Isaac Lowe is back in the ring, Sahir Iqbal faces Liam Wells, and Jordan Reynolds makes his professional debut against Robbie Chapman. In addition, Adam Azim is back in action, plus Carl Fail enters the paid ranks for the first time.
The event precedes the fight card scheduled for March 19. The headline-bout features Lee McGregor challenging Karim Guerfi for his European bantamweight title, and Maxi Hughes and Paul Hyland Jnr battling it out for the vacant British lightweight title.
Among other bouts, Padraig McCrory faces Germaine Brown in a clash of unbeaten super-middleweights, and Shabaz Masoud goes up against Louis Norman. As well, Jamie Robinson fights Billy Allington, Paul Ryan makes his pro boxing debut against Kyle Hughes, and William Hamilton makes his comeback.