Unbeaten Lancastrian Jack Catterall has welcomed his elevation to No. 1 contender with the WBO and is determined to become a world champion in 2019.
‘El Gato’ (23-0-KO12) enjoyed a quartet of victories in 2018 and retained his WBO Intercontinental super-lightweight crown; keeping world champion Maurice Hooker firmly in his sights in the process.
Catterall said: “I’m right in the mix now. I’ve been put in as No. 1 challenger and my name is in the top 10 in the world.
“I’d have been daft to take my eye off the ball over Christmas so I just spent time with my family and switched off from boxing. I know I’ve got a busy year ahead of me so it was nice to relax a bit.
“I’ve been training. I’m not daft. I had four fights and back-to-back camps last year. It’s a lot on the body so I just did a few circuits and a few runs – nothing too strenuous.
“Last year was very good for me but this year will see me in even bigger fights. I’ve done everything necessary and I’m confident that I’ll get my shot at some point this year.”
Catterall, who kicked off last year with wins over Kevin McCauley, Christopher Sebire and Tyrone McKenna, was last in action in October when he outpointed Ohara Davies in Leicester.
Unbeaten WBO European champion Tyrone McCullagh has joined trainer Danny Vaughan as he begins a potentially huge 2019.
Derry hero ‘White Chocolate’ (12-0-KO6) also secured the Celtic super-bantamweight crown in a successful 2018 under Danny Vaughan’s father, the legendary George Vaughan, and is now world-ranked.
Having made the switch to work under Danny Vaughan at MTK Scotland in Holytown, McCullagh said: “I’m glad to be joining such a promising gym under Danny and it feels more like moving bedrooms than moving houses because the two camps have always worked together.
“I’ve learned such a huge amount under Georgie Vaughan and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank both him and Derry Mathews for all the hard work and knowledge they’ve shared with me.
“The time is right for me to join my good friends like Tyrone McKenna, Paddy Barnes and Sean McComb over in Scotland and I’m looking forward to us all pushing each other onwards and upwards towards more titles.”
Danny Vaughan added: “I’m so pleased to welcome Tyrone to the team. I’ve always worked closely with my father, Georgie Vaughan, so in many ways we’ve been on the same team as Tyrone for years already.
“It could be a huge year for ‘White Chocolate.’ He’s one of the slickest operators around. Just ask Paddy Barnes, who calls him ‘The Bamboozler’ in sparring! Now those two will be sparring even more than usual as they’ll be in camp together.
“With Tyrone McKenna, Paddy and Sean McComb already in my stable, Sam Maxwell and I are starting to feel pretty heavily outnumbered as Scousers but jokes aside, the atmosphere between the boys is great and Tyrone McCullagh will only enhance that.
“It’s going to be a huge 2019 for McCullagh, for our stable and for MTK Global in general. Everyone is excited to be a part of it.”
Michael McKinson and Mikey Sakyi will put titles on the line against Ryan Kelly and Id Hill respectively when MTK Global returns to Brentwood on March 9 – live on iFL TV.
WBC International Silver welterweight champion McKinson (15-0-KO2) faces the dangerous Kelly (13-1-KO7) while Southern Area super-lightweight king Sakyi (7-2-KO3) meets the challenge of Essex-based Hill (8-2-2-KO2).
With a lengthy undercard to be announced in due course, MTK Global President Bob Yalen is enthusiastic over another stellar night of boxing at the Brentwood Centre.
Yalen said: “We’re relishing the chance to go and put on yet another fantastic show at the Brentwood Centre, which has become one of the headquarters of the small-hall boxing scene.
“There have already been some absolute classics on MTK Global shows in Brentwood with several titles on the line and we’re looking to step it up with each and every show in terms of the quality of the fights, the production and the event in general.
“In addition to true 50-50s at the top of our cards, we’re looking to provide a stage for some of the sport’s brightest prospects – both domestically and internationally – to send rivals and fans alike early statements.
“The last few shows we’ve put on at the venue have sold out and we’d like to take this opportunity to thank the fans for their continued support. Without them, events like this simply wouldn’t happen.”
McKinson was last seen producing a masterclass against Sam McNess at York Hall to cement his world-ranking while Sakyi stopped Siar Ozgul team-mate in stunning fashion at the same venue back in July to lift his title.