It will be back to reality with a thud on Monday for Tamworth’s Josh McCulloch, when he returns to school to focus on his HSC trials after claiming is debut national muay thai title.
The Tamworth High School student, 17, stopped Raymond Terrace’s Joe Florence to claim the vacant Masa full Thai rules 58-kilogram title at the Morisset Country Club on Saturday night.
The stoppage came in the fourth round via a leg kick, with McCulloch having previously put the older Florence down in the fight.
It was the teen’s seventh straight win, six of which have come this year and include his first state belt and his first overseas win, when he beat a Thai via knockout on Phuket at the end of July.
That was his first stoppage victory, meaning he has now stopped his last two opponents to improve his record to 12 wins, two losses and a draw.
McCulloch’s trainer, Scott Chaffey, said the “sky’s the limit” for his charge but first he had to hit the books – Saturday’s bout his final this year.
“Joe Florence is definitely a tough guy but Josh is just really fighting at a great level at the moment,” Chaffey said, adding that it was Florence’s first loss in Australia.
Chaffey said McCulloch would be “enjoying some down time, and we’ve got some big plans coming up for next year”.
The youngster described his triumph on Saturday as “an amazing way to finish the year”.
“This was the last fight for me for the year, unfortunately, but next year is going to be hectic,” he said.
The past 12 months have been a continuation of McCulloch’s rapid ascent in a sport he commenced after wandering 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.