Former WBC boxing champion Wayne “Pocket Rocket” McCullough has been signed as a sports ambassador for KENNETT; a rapidly expanding brand of Watches & Accessories.
The British brand has recently announced an impressive line up of sports ambassadors; with Wayne joining a team of top athletes signed up from a variety of aspirational sports like Motorsports, Golf & Polo.
Speaking of the agreement, Tom Kennett; founder of the KENNETT brand explained, “We were introduced to Wayne several months ago through his strong interest in Watches. Through time it became clear that there was synergy between both of our brands and what we stand for – he has had an impressive career and continues to be a charismatic ambassador not only for his sport, but also for his country. Now living in West Coast America – Wayne offers relevant impact to KENNETT & his sport – whether he be in L.A, Las Vegas or back in his native Ireland. It has been an emotional and memorable week for Wayne and his family given his involvement with the handover of the Olympic torch. We are looking forward to developing the partnership further.”
The legendary Irish boxer has been back in his native Ireland this week to take part in the handover ceremony of the Olympic Torch. The Olympic flame left Northern Ireland in a ceremony at the border involving Wayne and long time friend Michael Carruth; who also represented Ireland at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
Boxer Wayne McCullough said: "It was like going into the Olympic final again, you get emotional. This was something I was looking forward to all week, to do something cross-community and meet my good buddy Michael Carruth. I am honoured to be doing it."
Speaking on his appointment with KENNETT, Wayne said: “I have been interested in watches from an early age. I was introduced to KENNETT last year and was immediately struck with their elegant brand, vibrant designs and focus on quality - I have been wearing several of their watches over the last year. I am impressed with the brand’s ambitious plans across the world and feel very pleased to be part of the KENNETT sports ambassadors team.”
About Wayne McCullough: (Wikipedia)
In 1993 Wayne moved to Las Vegas to train under Eddie Futch, who agreed to train him after seeing him at the Olympics. Wayne always fought in neutral colors and didn't play any anthems during his career. Both Protestants and Catholics came together to support him. Within a year of turning pro, he had won the North American Boxing Federation title. On 30 July 1995, less than 2½ years since his pro debut, he won the WBC championship by beating the champion Yasuei Yakushiji in Nagoya, Japan to become Ireland's first ever WBC world champion. He was the first (and only) Irish or British fighter to travel to Japan and win a belt.
McCullough defended his title twice before vacating the belt and moving up in weight to challenge WBC super bantamweight champion Daniel Zaragoza but lost via a split decision in the WBC "Fight of the Year". After this fight, his wife Cheryl and Stuart Campbell began to manage his career when his original manager, Mat Tinley, became a boxing promoter.
McCullough unsuccessfully challenged champions Naseem Hamed in 1998, and Erik Morales in 1999. Both exciting "Fight Of The Year" contenders, he broke both of their incredible KO streaks while taking them the distance. Hamed had knocked out 18 opponents straight before McCullough, he was 30-0 at the time. Morales had knocked out 9 of his previous 9 opponents and was 34-0 at the time. Morales stated that McCullough gave him one of the top three fights of his career and almost quit on his stool after the 9th round (according to RING magazine).
In October 2000, McCullough was returning to his native Belfast for a homecoming fight. Two days before the fight was scheduled to take place, he was told that he had a cyst on his brain, he couldn’t fight again and that one more blow to the head could kill him. McCullough flew back to Las Vegas and was advised by the Nevada Commission to visit the neurosurgery department at UCLA for a more thorough investigation. Within a few weeks the doctor at UCLA, Neil Martin, called to say he had consulted with some of the top neurosurgeons in the USA and they had come to the conclusion that the cyst was not on his brain, but in a space between the brain and the skull – called the arachnoid mater – and that he saw no reason for him to give up his boxing career.
Nevertheless, the British Boxing Board of Control continued to deny him a license. He was relicensed in Nevada and fought again in January 2002. After a very public battle, the BBBofC could no longer deny him a license and later that same year McCullough stepped back into a British ring under the Frank Warren Promotions banner. Since then he has had mixed success, winning five fights but losing to Scott Harrison and Mexican world champion Óscar Larios on two occasions. The result of his first fight with Larios is widely disputed.
On 17 August 2005 McCullough was honored by the WBC to become their first ever WBC World Ambassador for Peace and Goodwill in Sports.
In September 2005, McCullough became a United States citizen. He is known for his dogged, relentless attacking style and has never been knocked down or stopped by a fighter in a professional bout.In November 2005, McCullough released his autobiography, Pocket Rocket: Don't Quit, in the UK and Ireland. He went on a publicity tour to promote the book, which reached Number 2 on the best sellers list.
In 2007, Wayne McCullough was asked to join the Ultimate Fighting Championship organisation by his longtime friend, UFC President, Dana White as a PR Associate and travels around the world helping to promote the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).
He currently trains fighters both in boxing and MMA and is setting up his own charity - IHOW.