Tommy McCarthy [18(()-3(1)] is ready to ruin Eddie Hearn’s planned trip to Bournemouth and keep his career alive by beating Chris Billam Smith [13(10)-1(0)] in Manchester on Saturday.
‘The Mac Attack’ rematches ‘The Gentleman’ in an intriguing European title fight on the undercard of Conor Benn versus Chris van Heerden knowing victory is a must.
The MHD cruiserweight lost his European title to the Shane McGuigan-trained Brit last summer and wants it back. Indeed, he believes he needs to win back the famous blue strap or his career will be in serious trouble.
As a result, he claims he can’t even afford the return to appear close.
“I can’t afford to lose this fight and I can’t afford to leave it close,” he said at the final press conference before suggesting lapses in concentration may have cost him the first time around.
“I need to make sure I stayed switched on for all 12 rounds if it goes 12 rounds. As long as we are in the ring throwing shots I need to be switched on mentally.”
If the Belfast fighter does manage to retain focus he’s confident he will secure victory and scupper promoter Hearn’s plans for a big homecoming for the current champion.
“You’re talking about going to Bournemouth, Eddie you may cancel Bournemouth because I’m winning this on Saturday night. We’ll do it in Belfast,” he continued before assuring he isn’t looking past the weekend.
“Whatever comes after this I’m not too concerned as long as I win on Saturday night, that’s all that I’m focused on. It’s a must-win so I have to stay concentrated on it, I’m fully focused.”
McCarthy’s manager, Mark Dunlop, claims Billam Smith had no option but to rematch, Hearn argued otherwise. Either way, ‘Big Tommy’ is just delighted to have secured the chance to become a two-time European champ.
“I’m so happy I got the rematch so I can set the record straight and win the title again.
“I said after the fight he is a gentleman by name and gentleman by nature. He’s done the gentlemanly thing by giving me the shot when he didn’t have to just like I didn’t have to give him [a shot when I was champion]. There was so much controversy around the first one that his back was against the wall. Everyone wants to see it again,” he adds before addressing the lack of bad blood this time around.
“I don’t have any ill feelings toward Chris, especially after the fight we had.”