By Jake Donovan
Marco McCullough may never again land a right hand like the one that produced his latest knockout victory.
The hard-luck super featherweight gatekeeper gave his hometown fans a thrill with a 3rd round knockout of Declan Geraghty in their regional title fight Friday evening Ulster Hall at in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
A well-timed right hand shot flattened Geraghty, putting the Dubliner down for the full ten count at 2:28 of round three.
The knockout ending came out of nowhere, as the preceding two rounds were relatively close even if both in favor of the local fighter. McCullough was doing just enough to edge ahead, but with Geraghty providing awkward moments out of his southpaw stance.
At first glance, round three seemed to offer more of the same. McCullough bore small cuts under each eye, showing the effects of Geraghty’s shots getting through. The 29-year old divisional gatekeeper never remained flustered, in fact scoring with enough right hands to produce a streaming cut just over his Geraghty’s left eyelid.
The flow of blood would become the least of the southpaw’s worries.
His natural fighting style coming with his hands down and shooting quick shots upstairs, Geraghty paid dearly for failing to protect himself at all times. McCullough offered a quick feint before connecting upstairs with a deceptively quick right hand shot. Geraghty (18-4, 4KOs) crashed to the deck upon impact, remaining flat on his back as he was counted out.
McCullough extends his win streak to five straight as he improves to 22-4 (12KOs). His last loss came two years ago—nearly to the day—in an 11th round stoppage to England’s Ryan Walsh. The bout marked just one of four career appearances outside of his native Belfast, having one just once on the road—a confidence restoring win in Glasgow three years ago.
Each of McCullough’s last five starts have taken place in his hometown, although the intention moving forward is to land a notable fight in the United States. Among his current hit list is reigning 130-pound titlist Tevin Farmer.
The bout served as the chief support to McCullough’s stablemate, Belfast’s own Ryan Burnett’s ring following a fluke injury loss to Nonito Donaire to end his title reign last November. The former bantamweight titlist will give the 122-pound division a test drive, as he faces Philippines’ Jelbirt Gomera in a scheduled 10-round regional title fight.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox