Pickering targets Wayne “Pocket Rocket” McCullough in September

24.05.04 - By Ben Carey: Fresh off the first defence of his European super-bantamweight title in Reading a fortnight ago, Newark’s Esham Pickering is seeking a big-money showdown with former WBC bantamweight champion Wayne McCullough sometime in the Autumn. Speaking to BBC Radio Sheffield’s Seth Bennett last Thursday night, a self-critical Pickering admitted he was disappointed with his 8th round stoppage win over overmatched Spaniard Juan Garcia Martin.

“I wasn’t happy with my performance. But I had 12 days of flu coming up to that fight and I think it was still in my system a bit. The kid (Martin) was unbeaten in 11 fights and he’d been to the World Games. On paper he didn’t look bad but I didn’t rate the guy when I was in there. I had too much for him but I just felt I made hard work of an easy job,” Pickering said. “I was supposed to box another unbeaten guy called Miguel Mallon who is 23 unbeaten but he pulled out and then there was an Italian guy who also withdrew. So it was a case of John Ingle and Jess Harding bringing in this opponent (Martin). Luckily we were able to make a voluntary defence because the mandatory pulled out. It was good management and I’m pleased to have beaten an unbeaten fighter.”

The current Commonwealth and European champion’s recent victory was his fifth successive title-winning triumph in a upwardly mobile career which now reads 26-3 (10). Despite having been around for what seems a lifetime, Pickering, still only 27, now feels he is ready to deliver on an even bigger stage.

“I feel there’s so much more in the tank. John Ingle and Jess Harding are trying to set a big fight up on the BBC between me and Wayne McCullough. Hopefully that’s going to happen in September or October. I’d like to have one more fight before that but this gives me great motivation,” he told Radio Sheffield. “I was looking at Wayne McCullough when he boxed in the Olympics in 1988. He’s been in with everyone: Naseem Hamed, Eric Morales and Scott Harrison. He’s been a world champion and been through the whole lot. To have him (McCullough) on my record would be a launching pad for my career. He’s really respected in America and around the world so that could really blow up my name. Beating Wayne McCullough, I believe, is where my career will start.”

In anticipation of a possible ring return in June, Pickering has today flown out to Copenhagen for 2 weeks sparring with Denmark’s WBA International featherweight champion Spend Abazi. In other news, Pickering’s Wincobank stablemate, Junior Witter, is set to challenge for the European light-welterweight title on the undercard of the British and Commonwealth super-middleweight clash between Carl Froch and Tony Dodson at the Nottingham Arena on June 2.

Article posted on 24.05.2004

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