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‘Please prove me wrong’ – Johnny Nelson believes Tommy McCarthy has hit ‘his ceiling’

Tommy McCarthy made it clear he wants to shoot for the stars after his European cruiserweight title win on Saturday night, calling out IBF world champion Mairis Briedis.

However, former cruiserweight world champion and current Sky pundit Johnny Nelson believes the Belfast fighter has hit his ceiling.

Nelson, a former holder of the title McCarthy buckled around his waist by defeating Bilal Laggoune live on Sky Sports, told viewers he felt ‘The Mack Attack’ would struggle at world level.

“I think potentially he is better than what we seen tonight, but I think that is his ceiling, that’s his level,” said Nelson.

“Please prove me wrong and his fans that are saying your crazy, please prove me wrong,” he added before pointing out the reasons for his concern.

“I think that’s his level because he can’t start so slow against world class fighters, they’ll jump on him and break his heart.”

Interestingly enough, Nelson, who was trained by legendary Dublin born coach Brendan Ingle, was anything but an all action fighter.

Indeed, his approach may have been perceived as more laid back than McCarthys and considering he lost his first three fights was a career slow starter.

Regardless giving his opinion on McCarthy, he expressed concerns with regard to the pace ‘Big Tommy’ starts fights at.

Speaking after what was a good old fashioned entertaining Continental battle: “Matt [Macklin] was saying in commentary he thought he was being too laid back.

“I actually thought he was being lazy when he started. Then as the fight kicked in I thought ‘ah I see it’. I need to understand what the hullabaloo was about when he turned pro, what all these expectations were, so when he started I thought this kids got the talent but he is lazy.

“He is a slow started a slow burner, I thought he lost the first four rounds, he was just waiting to react instead of initiating. He picked it up in the middle rounds and then it got scrappy.”

Nelson, who is respected on these shores for his very public respect and admiration for Ingle, had similar criticism for Tyrone McCullagh after his Golden Contract quarter final win over Razaq Najib around the same time next year.

The Sheffield fighter was a hit and don’t get hit master, just like BUI and BBBofC title winner, McCullagh – but didn’t have much time for ‘White Chocolate’s’ style.

Speaking to Irish-boxing.com on Nelson’s comments McCullagh said: “I haven’t actually watched it back yet I’ve just been told [what he said], but what a wanker he is.”

“I don’t mind criticism and fuck knows I’ve came under a lot throughout my career. Criticism is part and parcel of being a boxer but to say it’s a three horse race is just shite. Fuck him. His heads too far up Joshua’s hole to have an opinion on anything else.”

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