UK News: Tyrone McCullagh; Liam Williams; Akeem Ennis Brown

Tyrone McCullagh is zeroing in on WBO European title rival Josh Kennedy ahead of their hotly-anticipated clash at Belfast’s Titanic Exhibition Centre on October 5.

‘White Chocolate’ won the Celtic super-bantamweight crown last time out and steps up again to face another 11-0 fighter in Kentish visitor Kennedy, who is covered in body art.

McCullagh said: “Those face tattoos of his simply provide me with targets to aim for.

“I don’t know the guy and I don’t even follow him on social media so I’m not going to start any fake ‘beef’ but my mates have sent me screenshots of his posts. Let’s face it – he’s a muppet.

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“Despite his tattoos and fashion sense, I’ve nothing against him really and he’s another step up for me having been English champion.

“I’ve seen a few clips of him on YouTube but I tend to focus on myself rather than on my opponent. I know he had a split decision win over Michael Ramabaletsa, who’s not got a great record but it’s slightly misleading because he took Ryan Doyle very close.

“The bottom line is that Kennedy is an undefeated fighter like myself but I don’t believe that he’s been in with the same calibre of opponent as I have up to this point.

“It’s nights like this that inspired me to start boxing in the first place. It’s been a long, hard road but finally I’m reaping the rewards.

“When I beat Kennedy, I’ll be knocking at the door of the top 10 in the world.”

McCullagh faces Kennedy on a stacked bill that also includes the likes of top heavyweight David Price, world-ranked Nathaniel May, Steven Ward, Conrad Cummings and many more.

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Former British and Commonwealth light-middleweight champion Liam Williams is delighted at the prospect of increased exposure for Welsh boxing.

MTK Global puts on its first show in Wales on Friday night; streamed live on iFL TV and featuring Williams (17-2-1-KO12) alongside Welsh team-mates Sean McGoldrick and Jacob Robinson.

With McGoldrick having breezed to 7-0 as a professional and Robinson – son of former world champion Steve – hunting a third straight win since joining the paid ranks, Williams is forecasting a bright future for Welsh boxing.

Williams said: “There have always been a lot of good fighters in Wales. It’s just that they haven’t had the right opportunities up until now.

“It’s great that MTK Global has decided to come here and give these young guys opportunities to shine. I’m sure they’ll perform and deliver the goods to ensure the supporters keep wanting to come back.

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“I heard Sean McGoldrick say that some of them look up to me and it’s nice to be appreciated. It’s so good to be fighting back home.

“I’m used to fighting on shows away from home and every time that happens, my fans have to travel. That means a lot of money on transport, accommodation and baby-sitters et cetera so this is a great chance to see me locally.”

Further down the line, Williams is targeting a clash with unbeaten MTK Global rival JJ Metcalf (18-0-KO10).

Williams added: “It’s nothing personal but we both pretty much know we’re going to be fighting each other so there’s a bit of tension there.

“People say I’m chasing him because I’m pushing for the fight but I don’t need him – I’m a bigger name and I’ve achieved more.

“I just think it’s a cracking fight to be made and I want to be in cracking fights.”

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Unbeaten youngster Akeem Ennis Brown is confident Saturday’s slot on Amir Khan’s undercard is just another step towards stardom.

At the tender age of 22, ‘Riiddy’ has already claimed English and WBC world youth titles at super-lightweight and is hell-bent on seizing any and every opportunity to showcase his skills on his way to the pinnacle of the sport.

Brown said: “I’m happy to be on his kind of show but part of me thinks: why has it taken so long? I’m one of the best kids out there and yet am the only fighter ranked in the top 10 who hasn’t been on TV yet.

“Once they get me on that camera, they’ll see what I’m about. They’ve heard some hype about my name but I bring the magic when I get in that ring.

“I’m still an underdog. I started with only 31 amateur fights because I started late. I jumped in the professional game early and learned everything with no sponsors and no promotion early on.

“To get to the point I’ve already got to, not many people do it this way. I might be underdog now but you can’t avoid me forever. When all’s said and done, the way I’ve done it means I’ll value it more because I’ve really earned it.

“I’m ready for titles here and now. I feel I should be fighting for the British and Commonwealth titles already. Once I have one of those titles, people can’t avoid me because I bring something other than danger to the table.”

Joining Brown on Amir Khan v Samuel Vargas are fellow MTK Global stars Sean McComb, Steven Donnelly and Kieron Conway.