Marc McCullough has split with coach John Breen and admits he has reached a crossroads in his career at the age of 26.
The Irish featherweight champion has taken an extended break from boxing to work out how to get his career back on track after he was stopped by Isaac Lowe on the undercard of Frampton-Quigg in Manchester in February.
‘Marco’ had looked set for a bright future after he stopped Willie Casey to win the Irish title in 2013 and he added the WBO European featherweight strap when he out-pointed the dangerous Martin Parlagi two years ago.
The last 12 months have been difficult though – first came a devastating knockout loss against Zoltan Kovacs in Germany in July, 2015 and after two comeback wins Lowe looked a step ahead of him in Manchester.
“I took a wee bit of a break,” said McCullough.
“I couldn’t work out what happened; whether I was burnt out or what really went on. I’m back ticking over in an amateur club, back to the basics again and I’ll see where I go from here.
“I’m not with John Breen any more. John is a brilliant guy, he really is, but I’ve had a couple of defeats now and I just thought it was time to change things up.
“I went down and had a chat to him and said: ‘John it’s nothing personal, I just need a change and see what else I can do’. I’ve left and I haven’t made any plans.”
McCullough says he felt exhausted after a couple of rounds against Lowe and he was shipping some punishment when Breen threw the towel in midway through the fight.
“I’ve been thinking about what went wrong, but no-one really knows,” he said.
“Some people think that the sparring every night for the last lot of years has just took its toll on me and I’m burned out.
“I don’t know, I did feel tired in the ring (against Lowe) but the whole camp before it was the best camp I ever had. It was hard after it with people saying this and that but the whole camp went well – I made the weight well, I had a good diet, everything went perfect…
“But on the night I was exhausted. I’ve had a hard four years and after fights I would have took a week off and then straight back into hard training again. Maybe everything just took its toll, maybe I need a new voice?”
The former Cairn Lodge amateur star says he is beginning to “enjoy things again” but he won’t make any hasty decisions regarding a comeback.
“I hope I’ll be back,” he said.
“Over the next couple of months I’ll decide what I want to do. Hopefully everything takes off again but, you know, it’s a hard oul game so it is.”