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McCarthy always confident he would bounce back from ’embarrassing loss’ and ‘all time low’

To some it looked like career breakdown when Tommy McCarthy [16(8)-2(1)] ]lost a breakthrough fight in ’embarrassing’ fashion in March of 2019.

Big punching Richard Riakporhe stopped the Belfast cruiserweight live on Sky Sports, landing what looked a huge blow on McCarthy’s career and chin.

The 29-year-old admits the ‘terrible loss’ was a ‘all time low’, but now just days shy of a European title tilt, McCarthy reflects on that stoppage defeat positively.

The Mark Dunlop managed fighter, who challenges Bilal Laggoune for the vacant European title on the Uysk versus Chisora Pay Per View card this Saturday, believes that loss was the making of him as a fighter.

“I had a terrible loss, an embarrassing loss, and I had to pick myself up from being at an all-time low,” said McCarthy.

“After I sat down and did some soul-searching, I phoned Mark my manager and I said, ‘look, that’s never happening again, so let’s get a fight as soon as possible’.”

Although the generally laid back talent hit a low, he remained confident his time would come.

McCarthy retained faith in his talent and as a result isn’t surprised he bounced back with a ranking title win over Fabio Turchi in Italy and subsequently found himself mandatory for the European title.

“Even when I was at the bottom, I always knew it would turn good because I have the talent,” continues McCarthy.

“It doesn’t feel surreal or anything because I always had faith that it was going to end up this way. I believe that everything happens for a reason.”

McCarthy has continually expressed confidence with regard to Saturday’s fight and defeating his Belgian opponent.

Secure that win and he will become Ireland’s first black European champion, but that isn’t the ultimate goal.

“When I was a kid I wanted to become Ireland’s first black World Champion. My main life-long goal is to become a World Champion. If the history comes with it, it just makes it sweeter.”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com