If Tommy McCarthy [17(8)-2(1)]can put on a show this weekend he will take a massive step toward becoming Belfast’s newest main man, according to one of the biggest sporting names the city has ever produced.
Carl Frampton believes the city is ready to welcome a new headline act and believes ‘Big Tommy’ has the tools to fill a void left by his own retirement.
‘The Jackal’ argues ‘The Mack Attack’ has the skill, power, personality, look, the promotional backing and now the chance to take centre stage in the fight mad city.
With MHD and Matchroom stablemate James Tennyson losing and Frampton retiring, the 34-year-old believes McCarthy has an opportunity to become Eddie Hearn’s main man in the capital of Irish boxing.
However, the recently retired former two-weight world champion warns there is one more box for his fellow Belfast man to tick.
Frampton believes the ever-laid-back European cruiserweight champion needs to bring more entertainment to the ring, starting with his first continental defence against Alexandru Jur [19(7)-4(2)] on the Matchroom’s, Sky Sports broadcast clash this coming Saturday.
“As Tommy McCarthy prepares to make the first defence of his European cruiserweight title, he finds himself at the point of the biggest opportunity of his career,” Frampton wrote in his popular Sunday Life column.
“Tommy could be the man to bring boxing back to Belfast with the backing of Eddie Hearn and his Matchroom outfit.
“The Irish landscape has shifted over the last few months. I’ve retired and James Tennyson suffered a shock defeat last weekend. Add in the fact Mick Conlan will fight more often in the States, where he has a big following from the start of his career, and it lives a gap in the market in Belfast for someone to fill.
“It’s going to take someone with the personality and the ability to encourage Hearn to come back to Belfast. He wants to put on big shows, so Tommy has to know that this Saturday night’s defence against Alexandru Jur means more than simply retaining his European belt,” he adds before advising McCarthy to try and catch the eye more.
“Tommy has got the skills, he can punch, he’s got the personality and he is a handsome big lad. Almost all the boxes have been ticked. The one that needs to be carried off, and it needs to start this Saturday, is the manner in which he goes about his business.
“Tommy is a laid-back guy but now he needs to be more ruthless he has to try and bring more entertainment to the ring, up to now I feel he has been too conservative.”
It’s a point another former Belfast headliner, Ryan Burnett, has also made, while coach Pete Taylor has asked ‘Big Tommy’ to be more proactive in his approach.
My coach Pete Taylor spoke to me about my performance and what I needed to do from here on and I have done some work with Ryan Burnett and he told me to get nasty because that would be the difference between being a world champion and winning a world title. He should know, having won the bantamweight title.”
“Pete has told me that I need to dominate opponents now and I realise that. In Pete’s words, I have to be more proactive than reactive. I am a natural counter-puncher but that has to change and it has already in my training.”