Tamworth teenager Josh McCulloch has turned his attention to capturing his first national belt after recording a stunning first-round knockout victory in his debut international fight and receiving a “massive confidence boost”.
McCulloch, 17, will fight Heatherbrae-based Joe Florence for the FTR 58 kilogram Australian title at Toukley on August 11. The card is a Next Generation promotion.
McCulloch, in Year 12 at Tamworth High School, had an ideal tune-up for the contest after stopping a Thai opponent with a perfectly timed elbow at Bangla Boxing Stadium on Phuket, Thailand, on Wednesday night.
It was his first KO, taking his record to 11 wins, two losses and a draw. He has won six straight bouts.
McCulloch had trained in Thailand for more than a week ahead of the fight. He returns home on Sunday.
On Wednesday night, he connected with the elbow as his unnamed Thai opponent rushed him carelessly.
McCulloch’s trainer, Scott Chaffey, said: “This fight will give Josh a massive boost in confidence leading up to his Australian title fight. Joe is a NSW champion in a heavier weight class but will be fighting at Josh’s fight weight of 58kgs, under full Thai rules.”
Full Thai rules means elbow strikes are allowed.
Following the Phuket win, Chaffey said: “It was an awesome fight – not only coaching Josh to his first international fight but to see him get his first win by KO. It doesn’t get any better.”
McCulloch said: “It was such an awesome experience fighting at Bangla Boxing Stadium and fighting and beating a Thai with an elbow knockout in the first round. I can’t wait to jump back into the ring.”
McCulloch wandered into Chaffey’s Black Belt Academy in Tamworth some 12 months after a 2014 accident in a school science lab left him with third-degree burns to 18 per cent of his body.