Second time lucky – Tommy McCarthy v Luke Watkins clash ordered

A much-anticipated cruiserweight clash between Belfast’s Tommy McCarthy and Swindon-Wexford fighter Luke Watkins looks to be back on the table for 2018.

The pair had seemed to be on a collision course earlier this year, before their paths diverged.

After being ordered to fight in a British title eliminator, Irish champion Watkins [13(9)-0] then secured a Commonwealth title and would subsequently win and defend the belt with stoppages against Robin Dupre and Mike Stafford.

Meantime, McCarthy [11(6)-1(0)] returned under new management with Mack The Knife Global and racked up two quick wins against Peter Hegyes and Blaise Mendouo to sharpen himself, adjust to new coach Ensley Bingham, and set up title fights in the new year.

Now the latest meeting of the British Boxing Board of Control has put the two big men back on a collision course.

The pair have been ordered to fight in a British title FINAL eliminator – a bout which would also, assumedly, be for the rainbow belt held by the Paddy Fitzpatrick-trained Watkins.

According to the BBBoC, purse bids for the fight are due by Wednesday January 10th – with the contest to take place by the end of April.

This time-frame would seem to fit perfectly with the proposed BT Sport card, headlined by Carl Frampton, which is set to take place at the SSE Odyssey Arena in Belfast on Saturday April 7th.

The winner of the fight, should it take place, would then be in line to fight for the British title.

The belt is currently held by Blackpool’s Matty Askin, who defeated McCarthy in a final eliminator last year.

The English fighter though first faces a rescheduled defence against Scotsman Stephen Simmons – which also must take place by the end of April 2018.


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: