LEEDS, ENGLAND – It is almost a year to the day since Gary Cully suffered the first professional defeat of his career when he was taken out inside three rounds by Jose Felix.

The 28-year-old lightweight has had a busy 12 months. In the aftermath of the loss to Felix, he joined Joe McNally in Liverpool, righted the ship with a disputed split decision victory over Reece Mould and then left McNally to return home and link up with Niall Barrett.

Cully, 18-1 (10 KOs), successfully completed the latest step in his rehabilitation by outpointing the solid Francesco Patera, 29-5 (11 KOs), over 10 rounds on the undercard of the eagerly awaited rematch between Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall.

The 6ft 2in tall southpaw moved around, probed with his jab and tried to walk the tidy Italian onto his left hand. Patera – a two-time EBU lightweight champion – let his right hand go over the top whenever he could and tried to work Cully’s body when the pair came close. When Cully ran off his combinations, Patera found it difficult to get his feet into range but remained competitive and by the middle rounds, he was enjoying plenty of success as Cully’s punch output dropped and he willingly gave up ground. 

Cully began to find his range more easily in the eighth, bloodying Patera’s nose and picking him off as he began to tire and force his work but clearly felt enough resistance in Patera to resist searching for a finish. 

After 10 rounds, the judges all agreed that Cully had done enough and he was awarded a unanimous decision. The scores were 98-92, 96-94 and 96-94 and Cully collects the WBA Continental lightweight title. 

Giorgio Visioli, 3-0 (3 KOs), started his career with a pair of identikit knockouts and the 21-year-old lightweight kept his streak going by stopping Austria’s Sergio Odabai in the fourth round.

Visioli found his range immediately and scored repeatedly with southpaw left hands but Obadai was made of sterner stuff than Visioli’s previous opponents and soaked up the shots well. Visoli steadily upped the pressure and began to sit down on his shots more in the third round. Obadai was dropped by a left hand to the body and although he got up at the count of nine, referee, Howard Foster, stopped the fight. 

Billericay middleweight, George Liddard (pictured), 7-0 (4 KOs), blew away Graham McCormack within 90 seconds. Liddard was too fast for the 37-year-old southpaw and quickly dropped him with a short right hand. McCormack, 9-4-1 (1 KO), got up but Liddard followed him to a corner and pounded away until he sank to the canvas where he wisely sat out the count.

Lele Buttigieg, 4-0 (1 KO), kicked off the show and maintained his unbeaten record with a largely one-sided decision victory over Anas Isarti. The 19-year-old super welterweight dominated when he used his jab and kept things long but likes to get involved and took a couple of clean counters from the 34-year-old Belgian.

Isarti, 4-3, made it to the sixth-round before being stopped by Buttigieg’s fellow prospect, Junaid Bostan, two years ago but lasted the distance against Buttigieg despite taking clean right hands from the start. Buttigieg was awarded a 60-54 decision. 

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