An Interview With Wayne, 'Pocket Rocket', McCullough.

As one of the world's top featherweights, professional boxer Wayne, 'Pocket Rocket', McCullough, 35, has done it all ... See what the Rocket has in his sights and what his life is like.
As one of the world's top featherweights, professional boxer Wayne 'Pocket Rocket' McCullough, 35, has done it all, and still has plenty to offer. Having begun his boxing quest at the age of eight, when he joined his brothers (also aspiring boxers, at the time) at the Albert Foundry Boxing gym in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Wayne quickly amassed a formidable amateur record of 319 contests (only 11 of these were losses).

Wayne departed the amateur ranks after winning a Bronze medal at the 1990 World Cup, and, in the same year, Gold and Silver medals at the Commonwealth and Olympic Games respectively.

With an obvious talent for boxing, Wayne decided to take things to the next level and, upon basing himself in Las Vegas, Nevada, and within a year of turning pro, he won the North American bantamweight boxing title. The following two years would see Wayne win the WBC Bantamweight title, beating the Japanese Champion, Yaseui Yakushiji, in his hometown of Nagoya, Japan. Wayne defended this title twice before moving up to the featherweight division.

Highlights from Wayne's 12-year professional boxing career, surprisingly include two fights of which he did not walk away the victor: Wayne went the distance in close-fought matches with boxing greats, Prince Nassem Hamed and Erik Morales in 1998 and 1999 respectively.

However, Wayne's ring record remains an excellent one, with 27 wins and five losses (five wins coming via KO). This year, Wayne lost a controversial 12-round decision to Oscar Larios February 10. He has since been granted a re-match and is convinced he will, July 16, put the decision beyond doubt.

Wayne 'Pocket Rocket' McCullough
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As a boxer, key strengths Wayne possesses include an ability to relentlessly pressurize his opponent with non-stop punches, toughness and durability, excellent body attacking skills, experience, stamina and an admirable fight history. Wayne feels his family - wife Cheryl (who is also Wayne's manager) and daughter Wynona - are additional strengths. They offer support and an incentive to continue fighting and winning.

[ Q ] Hi Wayne. I hear you are fighting July 16. Who are you fighting, and how big is this fight for you?

    I am fighting the rematch with Oscar Larios. I fought him in February and lost a controversial decision. The fans called for the rematch and with much hard work from my promoter, Dan Goossen, I got it.

    This is the first time in all my losses that someone has given me a rematch and for that I am grateful. It is going to be a great fight because I know I could do better in this fight than the last fight and he will not know what's coming!

[ Q ] Provide some background on yourself (age, height, ring record, place of birth).

    I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I started boxing at the age of 8. I will be 35 tomorrow (July 7). I am 5-foot-7. My ring record is 27-5, 18 KO. I have been living in Las Vegas for the past 12 1/2 years.

[ Q ] Do you currently hold any boxing titles? Which ones have you held?

    I won the NABF (North American Boxing Federation) belt in 1994. I then went on to win the WBC (World Boxing Champion) belt in 1995. As an amateur I won a Silver medal at the 1992 Olympics as an amateur [He lost to Joel Casamayor, Cuba], a Gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 1990 and a Bronze medal at the World Cup in 1990.

      Wayne's Fighting Record
      Feb 10 2005:
      Sep 23 2004:
      Mar 22 2003:
      Nov 2 2002:
      Sep 14 2002:
      Jan 12 2002:
      Oct 22 1999:
      Aug 13 1999:
      Oct 31 1998:
      May 19 1998:
      Apr 17 1998:
      Jan 11 1997:
      Jul 13 1996:
      Mar 30 1996:
      Dec 2 1995:
      Jul 30 1995:
      Mar 14 1995:
      Nov 12 1994:
      Sep 15 1994:
      Jun 17 1994:
      Mar 19 1994:
      Jan 18 1994:
      Nov 9 1993:
      Nov 30 1993:
      Sep 24 1993:
      Jun 18 1993:
      Jun 1 1993:
      May 4 1993:
      Apr 16 1993:
      Mar 26 1993:
      Mar 18 1993:
      Feb 23 1993:
      Oscar Larios
      Mike Juarez
      Scott Harrison
      Nikolai Eremeev
      Johannes Maisa
      Alvin Brown
      Erik Morales
      Leonard Martinez
      Nassem Hamed
      Juan Polo Perez
      Antonio Salas
      Daniel Zaragoza
      Julio Cardona
      Jose Luis Bueno
      Johnny Bredahl
      Yasuei Yakushiji
      Geronimo Cordoz
      Fabric Benichou
      Andres Cazares
      Victor Rabanales
      Mark Hargreaves
      Javier Medina
      Jerome Coffee
      Andres Gonzales
      Boulaem Belkif
      Con McMullen
      Luis Rosario
      Maunel Ramirez
      Oscar Lopez
      Oscar Zamora
      Sergio Ramirez
      Alfonso Zamora

[ Q ] Is there anyone you would especially like to fight, and why?

    Obviously I'd love to fight Marco Antonio Barrera. I have fought all the other top names at my weight.

[ Q ] What is your current weight? What will be your next fighting weight?

    Since my fight is fast approaching I am probably well within my fighting weight which will be 122 lbs. I usually walk around at 130 - 135 lbs. I try not to put much weight on in between fights because it puts too much of a strain on the body when you have to start taking it off again.

[ Q ] What has been your greatest achievement in boxing to date, in your view? Have there been any disappointing moments?

    Winning the WBC belt in 1995 was definitely my greatest achievement as a professional. As an amateur, winning the Olympic Silver medal was also fantastic. Obviously when you lose, it is very disappointing but you can't look back on them as failures, you can only look forward to bigger and better things.

[ Q ] What got you interested in fighting?

    My two older brothers boxed before me so I followed them to the gym. They eventually gave up boxing but I was hooked and look where I am now!!

[ Q ] Describe in detail, your training program leading up to a fight?

    I have a gym in my garage at home complete with a boxing ring, heavy bags and everything I need for a workout. Train the same way for every fight.

    My day starts off with a training session in the morning for about an hour. That would be a 4-5 mile run with shadow boxing afterwards and then in the afternoon, I train for around 2 hours in my gym at home. I do shadow boxing, work on the pads, spar and do exercises. The good thing about having my gym at home it is that I love training!

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    I constantly train, but about 6 weeks before a fight, I step up the intensity. I cut out junk food (not that I eat much of it anyway) and bread - since I think natural carbs from fruit and vegetables are all I need at that point. I start to spar about 3 days per week.

[ Q ] How do you develop your boxing power? Are there any special exercises, or routines?

    I think power is all natural. I'm not a big one punch KO fighter but I have good enough power. My strategy is to wear you down with the amount of punches I throw. However, I have KO'd guys with one punch and I think it's just something that happens when you throw the right punch at the right time and it connects in the right place!

      Wayne's Stats
      Place of birth:
      Starting age:
      Amateur club:
      Professional gym:
      Marital status:
      Belfast, Northern Ireland.
      Las Vegas.
      Albert Foundry.
      Pocket Rocket Gym, Las Vegas.
      Freddy Roach.
      Cheryl McCullough/Stuart Campbell.
      Goossen Tutor.

[ Q ] Describe your diet, both off-season and during the build-up to a fight?

    Since I train twice a day whether I have a fight coming up or not, I'm never too much overweight. In between fights, I love eating cookies but I always eat chicken. When I'm training for a fight, I cut out the sweet stuff, fizzy drinks and nearer the fight I stop eating bread. I have a very balanced diet.

[ Q ] Do you take any supplements? If so, which ones and in what quantities?

    I take the usual multivitamin but, after doing a Sports and Fitness course, I believe you can get all the nutrition you need from your food.

[ Q ] Where are you living at the moment, and what gym are you training at?

    I am currently living in Las Vegas and I train at home. I have my own gym set up here. It's always been a dream of mine to have my own gym so this was a start. Someday I'd like to have a facility where other people can come to train as well.

[ Q ] Are you a full time professional boxer, or do you have another type of occupation?

    I have been fortunate enough to have made money as a full time professional boxer.

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[ Q ] Who in the professional boxing world do you admire, and why?

    Bernard Hopkins inspires me. At 40-years old he is still a Champion and is one of the 'pound-for-pound' best fighters in the world.

[ Q ] Would you like to continue like Bernard Hopkins? How does the training change as a boxer ages?

    Hopkins is an inspiration to me. Obviously I'd like to be out of the game by the time I am 40 but I live clean and take care of my body so if I'm still winning, why give it up! My training hasn't changed much. I do a lot of work in the gym, throwing more than 100 punches per round. That shows in my fights. I know I'm older but I'm also much wiser and I know what my body can handle.

[ Q ] You have fought both Prince Naseem Hamed and Erik Morales, taking them both the distance. Describe these fights.

    I knew going into the fights that they both hit hard so when they hit me I thought, "OK I've taken their punches, now what?" Morales traded with me like a man but Hamed ran away but still managed to get the decision.

[ Q ] What is your ultimate goal as a boxer? What do you hope to achieve before you retire?

    My goal was to be a 3 time World Champion.

[ Q ] What other interests and hobbies do you have Wayne?

    Running, golfing, training and spending time with my wife and daughter.

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[ Q ] Tell me more about your wife and daughter. How important are they as far as supporting your fight career is concerned?

    My wife is also my manager. When my former manager started his promotional company, she took over the reins. She does a great job along with my co-manager Stuart Campbell. Our daughter was born 7 years ago and it was just natural to have her along for the ride. They support me 100% and we are together 24/7. There's no other way I'd have it.

[ Q ] What motivates you to continue training and competing?

    The love of boxing.

[ Q ] What advice would you give someone beginning in boxing?

    Be careful and get good advice. The best investment in the long run is to hire an attorney. I've had my fair share of problems and hiring a lawyer was the smartest thing I ever did. Once you take that step, get a good promoter who will showcase you and bring you along nicely with possible TV exposure. Most of all - train hard.

[ Q ] What did you think of the recent contender series? Would you like to have competed in something like this?

    I loved 'The Contender'. I think it showed that boxers have great hearts. They were great guys. However, I don't know if I would have liked to compete in a series that like. I have no regrets in how my career has gone.

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[ Q ] Thank you for your time Wayne. Is there anything else you would like to add (contact details, sponsors)?

    I want to thank EVERLAST for coming along with me for the ride. I want to thank Dan Goossen for without him none of this would have been possible. And most of all, I want to thank the fans. I'm still here because they still want to see me fight and I appreciate the support from each and every one of them.

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