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Saturday, 2 November, 2002, 21:27 GMT
McCullough makes winning return
Russian Nikolai Emereev was forced to stop in the fourth round against Wayne McCullough's attack
Emereev winces as McCullough lands a fierce upper-cut
Wayne McCullough made a successful return to his home town of Belfast with a crunching fourth-round victory over Russian Nikolai Eremeev on Saturday.

The former WBC bantamweight champion stopped the brave Eremeev in an international featherweight contest following a string of heavy blows.

"I'm pleased with my performance tonight but I still felt a little rusty," said McCullough.


It's a long time since I fought here and it was great to be back
Wayne McCullough
"I felt my timing was getting better round by round and I knew every time I hit him I was hurting him."

The Russian was struggling from the bell and eventually had to bow to the accuracy, pace and power of McCullough.

It was just the tonic for the packed Maysfield Leisure Centre, where the crowd had come out in force to watch one of their favourite sons.

It was only McCullough's third fight in Belfast and his first for seven years.

The ''Pocket Rocket'' started with confidence, and a right uppercut followed by a swinging shot over the Russian's defence put him in immediate control.

Wayne McCullough (left) stopped Russian Nikolai Emereev in the fourth round in Belfast
McCullough was too powerful for the Russian
McCullough upped the ante further in the second round, and by the third Ememeev's face was already looking red raw.

The unrelenting combination punching continued in the third, and crunching, accurate shots with both hands in the fourth saw the referee call a halt to proceedings.

McCullough's sights are now fixed on a showdown with WBO featherweight champion Scott Harrison next year.

"I'm going home to Las Vegas next week and I'll think about my next move but I would love a world title fight against Harrison or Guzman in the Odyssey Arena in Belfast," said McCullough.

"The fans tonight were great. It's a long time since I fought here and it was great to be back.

"I'll talk to my trainer about this fight, look at it again and then we'll see where we go from here."

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Belfast's Wayne McCullough
''The Odyssey atmosphere would be unbelievable''

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