McCarthy [13(6)-2(1)] was stopped in the fourth round by Londoner Richard Riakporhe at the Peterborough Arena, live on Sky Sports in what was the chief support bout on a JD NXTGEN card.
While the bookies had difficulty in splitting the pair beforehand, the result still same as a surprise to many – including the retired Bellew who was in the commentary box.
The Liverpudlian had backed McCarthy having had ‘The Mac Attack’ in for sparring ahead of his heavyweight clash with David Haye back in 2017.
Bellew was just one of a number of world class fighters that McCarthy enjoyed sparring with since his British title final eliminator loss to Matty Askin in November 2016.
While Saturday was just his fifth fight since the Askin loss, the periods in between have seen the Lenadoon man spar with the likes of Beibut Shumenov, Mairis Breidis, and Hughie Fury.
However, as he picks through the defeat, McCarthy admits that he has developed something of a sparring mentality and has identified small changes that he can make ahead of his return.
Bellew was happy to see this self-analysis and would send McCarthy a message of support in response.
The Scouser told the Irishman that “you’re good enough mate and, going by your post, you’ve hit the nail on the head!”
“Competitive sparring is great but being someone else’s help isn’t! I understand why you do it though! Sad part is not many do understand or care.”
“Keep plugging away my man, you have tons of ability.”
Your good enough mate and by going in your post you’ve hit the nail on the head! Competitive sparring is great but being someone else’s help isn’t! I understand why you do it though! Sad part is not many do understand or care.. Keep plugging away ma man you have tons of ability.
— Anthony Bellew (@TonyBellew) March 4, 2019