Show must go on – Music star Labrinth persuaded Tommy McCarthy against retiring

Music star Labrinth played his part in ensuring Tommy McCarthy [16(8)-2(1)] is one win away from being champion of Europe.

The singer and song writer has inspired with song for a number of years now, but it was his words and support that helped prevent ‘The Mack Attack’ from retiring.

In the immediate aftermath of his defeat to the heavy-hitting Richard Riakporhe in in March 2019, the cruiserweight admits he was dejected to the point he felt he had enough.

After years of frustrating inactivity ‘Big Tommy’ was back on the big stage and ready to prove his worth, but was stopped within four rounds live on Sky Sports.

As a result he was in danger of retiring soon after the fight, only for his cousin to offer encouragement.

“After the fight I thought it was over for me,” McCarthy told Pro Boxing Fans.

“I was just really down after and I was kidding myself, I haven’t got it. I’m not the man I thought I was. But after I came home and spoke with my wife, she really instilled the belief in me again.

“I was embarrassed too. The fight was in Peterborough, they had travelled up from London, they were front row.

“Afterwards, he [Labrinth] hugged me and I was like ‘do you know what, I’m finished, I can’t do this no more’.

“He said: ‘look Tommy, don’t worry there’s a rebirth happening, this is just a wake up call that you need.’

“He gave me loads of positive talk, just reassuring me it wasn’t the end.

“At the time I was taking it with a pinch of salt, but his words just resonated in my mind, when I got home my wife was saying the same things.”

The 29-year-old has been reborn since. His victory over the previously unbeaten Fabio Turchi in Italy last year saw him claim a world ranking.

McCarthy is also mandatory challenger for the EBU European title and is hoping to fight for it on one of Matchrooms Fight Camp cards this summer.

As he continues to move the levels he brings with him the lessons learnt from the Riakporhe defeat.

“Very few assess their wins, I know I was one of them coming up when I was beating people, you’re getting away with sloppy stuff but you never address it, because if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

“It took me to get embarrassed on the TV to really take stock. I knew that changes needed to be made but when you’re winning you’re getting away with it.

“I thought in order for this not to happen again I need to take responsibility, that’s going to stick with me forever.

“There’s no excuse for it to happen again.”

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 sport for a living for 19 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