Tommy McCarthy: “I’m a momentum fighter, the more fights I have the better I get.”
By Kailem Sims
The city of Belfast has consistently produced a number of great fighters over the years, who have all developed and progressed in their own journeys picking up World, European and domestic honours along the way.
The same could be said about reigning European cruiserweight champion Tommy McCarthy, who’s journey has followed that familiar path since his professional debut back in 2014.
With an impressive amateur career behind him that lasted almost 10 years, Tommy is never in a dull fight and has that old school ‘Fight anyone’ attitude, which has proved pivotal in his fantastic progression over his last four professional contests.
A routine victory against Jiri Svacina kick-started a turbulent 3-fight winning streak for Tommy. Back-to-back victories on the road in Italy, including that huge win over the undefeated Fabio Turchi, landed him a shot at the European title.
Another tough test in the shape of the versatile Belgian native Bilal Laggoune waited for Tommy in what was sure to be another exciting match-up on the undercard of Dereck Chisora’s showdown with Oleksandr Usyk’s last Halloween night.
It was yet another stern test for Tommy McCarthy who became victor over the brave Laggoune, at the same time becoming EBU European cruiserweight champion and proving he is still a force to be reckoned with in the very exciting cruiserweight division.
“We’ve flipped the script! I went from being unranked and just another name, to being European champion and world-ranked with the major governing bodies.”, explains Tommy, who is already looking towards the future and knows exactly what he wants to do next.
“My next fight is going to be a defence of my European title and that way I would have won it and defended it, then I want to move on. Ideally, I would have liked to have gone straight in for a world title but it just wasn’t meant to be, but it’s good as I will be getting one more fight before I step up to the next level. This last year because of the pandemic, I haven’t been as active as I was the year previously. I’m a momentum fighter, the more fights I have the better I get.”
Tommy also discussed the prospect of a possible future bout against former WBO cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli, after the Welsh boxing legend mentioned his desire to possibly face McCarthy in the near future.
“I have respect for Enzo’s career and what he’s done. I like him and he’s a really nice guy. He’s a genuine Welsh boxing legend! When he mentioned about fighting me it wasn’t in a malicious way, it was very respectful. To be honest, he’s had his time and achieved his goals of becoming a world champion. If I was to box Enzo and beat him, it wouldn’t do anything for me and it wouldn’t drive me on anywhere. I’m not saying it’s 100% not as it would be great to share a ring with a legend, but for me, I have a target in my head and a plan to get there.”
Being from Belfast himself and part of a group of fighters such as Carl Frampton, James Tennyson and Michael Conlan who also call the great fighting Irish City their home, Tommy discusses what it’s like being associated with the boxers mentioned and how proud he is of this.
“It’s great to be in the mix with them, especially the names that you mentioned because these names ring out worldwide, in particular Carl Frampton and Michael Conlan. Mick himself is so big in America! Myself and James Tennyson are in the mix now and we’re getting the credit we deserve so it’s great to be in the same conversation” says Tommy.”
Tommy also talks about the possibility of boxing on a show that is reportedly being planned for May in Belfast, which looks likely to have Tommy McCarthy, James Tennyson and undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor all featuring on the same card.
“That would be great! I’ve known Katie from the amateur days and her father Pete trains me. It would almost be like a family affair for all of us to be on the same show. I have great admiration for Katie as a boxing fan and as an Irishman too. She’s done everything for female boxing and it would be a privilege for us to box on the same show. It would go down in history.”
Lawrence Okolie became WBO world cruiserweight champion on Saturday, March 27th after stopping former world champion Krzysztof Glowacki in the sixth round in a devastating performance. Tommy shares his thoughts on the fight and the prospect of a potential future bout against Britain’s newest world champion Lawrence Okolie.
“I want to defend my title in great fashion and fight the winner next! Mine and Okolie’s names have been linked from when he turned professional, so it would all come together nicely if we were to fight each other in the future. It is definitely a fight that I would want.”
Tommy McCarthy is on an impressive journey and continues to impress. With his next fight looking very likely to be taking place in May, he is confident that a big win in his maiden European title defence will set up a world title shot later in the year and a chance to prove his ability to anyone that may doubt him.
Whether that’s the new WBO world champion Lawrence Okolie, or another of the world cruiserweight champions, there is no doubt that whoever it may be, Tommy McCarthy will do everything in his power to bring that world title back to Belfast.