It’s a case of no more Mr Nice Guy as Tommy McCarthy [17(8)-2(1)] heads into his first European title defence.
The laid backed talent admits he is under orders to get more nasty as he looks to progress from Continental king to world champion.
‘The Mack Attack’ put his EBU cruiserweight title on the line against Alexandru Jur on the May 15 Matchroom promoted Sky Sports broadcast card suggesting victory won’t be enough.
The Belfast fighter reveals his coach wants him to force the issue more and former unified world champion Ryan Burnett has encouraged him to be meaner.
Both of which McCarthy has introduced to his game in a bid to force a world title shot.
“This defence of my title means much more than just holding onto my belt,” McCarthy told the Belfast Telegraph.
“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.”
McCarthy has taken the instruction, run with it and is hopeful a more aggressive and explosive display will lessen the time he will have to wait for a world title shot.
“I’m out to do damage now, I’m off the leash. I’ve been sparring quite a bit with Stevie Collins Jnr and he told me recently after one of the spars that it was the hardest spar that I’d given him. Pete has been very pleased with the change, and that’s the same mentality that I will bring into this title defence.
“This fight is about giving an explosive performance. I feel that I’m a stone’s throw away from a world title shot but to get there I need a big performance. If it turns out to be another 12 rounds of a slugfest then I feel I may have to have another defence before getting my chance. That’s just the way it works.”