Cork teen Tommy McCarthy turned down pro offers to chase Tokyo Olympic dream

Cork flyweight Tommy McCarthy has come in for some attention from promoters recently – and came extremely close to signing on the dotted line – but the Mayfield 19 year old is now determined to stay in the vest and go to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

The Rebel is the reigning Intermediate champion at 52kg and was runner up to Brendan Irvine at the 2017 Elite Seniors.

McCarthy, who has spent time training at the Celtic Warriors Gym in Dublin, admits to having his head turned by the pro game, but has since come round and is now focusing on medals and the Olympics in the Far East.

A slick and talented fighter with an infectious personality, it’s easy to see why McCarthy, who had a notable cameo in hit film ‘The Young Offenders, attracted pro interest.

Indeed, with contracts on the table he was close to signing a deal before intervention from those around him, and a realisation of his current position, forced a rethink.

“I was very tempted,” McCarthy tells

“I was going to go and had a talk with my trainers, but my dad was the one who stopped me, telling me I’ve plenty of time to go pro as I’m a little kid.”

“The main reason is the kids in the club of Mayfield look up to me, so if I keep winning and representing it will attract a lot more kids. There’s a lot of good young fellas in the club and we’re producing a lot of young champions.”

“Being beat in the Senior final… I was so close to winning a Senior title, I won’t stop till I get a Senior title.”

“My trainers push me so hard and put so much time in, the least I can do is win a senior title for them and I reckon this year will be the year.”

“I wanted to compete for my country in the Olympics so that’s what I’m going to do.”

If McCarthy is to become the top dog in Ireland and head off to the major tournaments, he will need to dethrone Rio Olympian Irvine.

The Cork teen has plenty of respect for his conqueror from February, but believes that he has the room to improve to overtake the ‘Wee Rooster.’

“Of course I do [have the ability to beat Irvine], I was so close last year and it was my first Seniors,” he confidently states before adding that “with the work I put in this year, it’ll be hard to stop me.”

“I have to mention Irvine, he’s doing serious work for Ireland, getting bronze in the Europeans and I wish him the very best of luck to win in the World Championships.”

A proposed fight in the Dublin International Round Robin fell through, but McCarthy will get his first taste of Elite International action next month in a Multi-Nations in Poland.

The Leesider believes it is a big chance to put into practice what he has been building this year and make a statement.

McCarthy recalled how “I was always winning as a kid, I had six county titles, seven Munsters, and six Irish titles at underage level and I never really got noticed – and now is the time to prove myself and go over and win gold.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: