McCarthy dismisses “bluffer” Watkins – hoping for big Frampton-Donaire undercard fight

Belfast cruiserweight Tommy McCarthy [11(6)-1(0)] believes we will never see him take on Luke Watkins [13(9)-0] – and he places the blame firmly at the feet of the Irish and Commonwealth champion.

Thrice the pair have been mandated to fight, first for the Irish title, then in a British title eliminator, and most recently in a British title final eliminator. All three times have seen the fight fail to be made, and McCarthy has all but given up hope that he will ever face the Swindon-Wexford big man.

The Paddy Fitzpatrick-trained Watkins stepped up in 2017 with three big stoppages, first of Ian Tims to claim the Irish title then against Robin Dupre and Mike Stafford to win and defend the Commonwealth title on Cyclone Promotions shows.

McCarthy though can’t see ‘The Duke’ moving up any further and told that “Watkins, he has no interest in fighting me, it’s clear.”

“I’ve called for the fight, it’s been over a year, and it’s the third time now they’ve pulled out. They’ve no interest and they obviously just want the easiest fights they can and hold on to the Commonwealth title for as long as they can.”

“They’ve no interest in stepping up in class or in fighting me, that’s clear.”

It’s clear to the boxing fans and public that Watkins is a bluffer. Him and Paddy Fitzpatrick keep talking on Twitter, but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty they don’t want to know.”

“The first time, when he fought Tims, the winner had to fight me – he won it and then he wouldn’t fight me. The British Boxing Board of Control made it an eliminator, he pulled out, my team offered him a fight, he pulled out again.”

Watkins himself is keen to try and bring the British and Commonwealth titles together, and is hopeful of facing the winner of Matty Askin’s Lonsdale belt defence against Stephen Simmons at the York Hall on March 17th.

There is talk that Watkins will be at the Hayemaker show in London but McCarthy, who believes he should be next in line as he did not pull out of their final eliminator, laughed this off.

“If he’s going to be ringside at the York Hall he’s probably buying a ticket himself. Anyone can be ringside for any fight – Canelo was ringside at Frampton’s last fight and he has no interest in fighting Frampton,” joked The Mack Attack.

With Watkins off the radar, McCarthy is looking to move on and the Lenadoon man is hopeful of landing himself a fight on the big Frampton v Donaire undercard at the SSE Odyssey Arena on Saturday April 21st.

Indeed, the 27-year-old had agreed to a big domestic dust-up, but saw this fight, unfortunately, slip by. Having returned from almost a year out in the Autumn with two quick-fire wins, McCarthy is eager to finally kick on in his career.

He outlined how “it looked like me and Stephen Simmons were going to fight each other on the undercard. He’d agreed and I’d agreed, but then obviously he got the chance for the British title and he took that, I can’t blame him.”

“Now we’re just looking to see if we can get something else sorted [for the Frampton-Donaire undercard].”

“Those two fights were just to get me going again, get my name out there, and get some rounds. They served a purpose, but my next fight I want a good fight for some sort of title.”


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: