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“It’s showing now” – Tommy McCarthy pays tribute to skills learned in the amateurs

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Tommy McCarthy was part of a golden generation of Irish amateurs, and the Belfast man believes that, with this base, they can and will go on to achieve great things in the pros.

McCarthy turned pro at cruiserweight in 2014 and has stormed to a 9(5)-0 record, taking out Courtney Fry and Jon-Lewis Dickinson in that time. On November 19th he goes for a third big win against English champion Matty Askin in a British title final eliminator, with a clash with Craig Kennedy for the vacant belt up for grabs.

Some of McCarthy’s amateur team-mates who have turned pro in recent years include the likes of Declan Geraghty, Mick Conlan, Paddy Barnes, Ray Moylette, John Joe Nevin, Katie Taylor, Con Sheehan, Eric Donovan, and Jason Quigley.

The Lenadoon man, who turns 26 on Friday, remembers he time with the team fondly, and told that “I’ve been very lucky. Myself, Michael Conlan, Paddy Barnes, Jason Quigley, Con Sheehan, we’ve been very lucky to come though in what was a great time for Irish amateur boxing.”

“We had Zaur [Antia], Billy Walsh, and everyone still loves them. Anyone who came through that team I was on, they were all brilliant.”

McCarthy believes that this solid technical base has allowed recent Irish amateur graduates to be fast tracked in the pros. He explained how “we were just fortunate to be able to come through that school and have that good technique behind us. It was drilled into us, day in, day out.”

“It’s showing now, I’ve only had nine fights and I’m number two in Britain, Mick is looking to be World champion very very fast, Con Sheehan has had three fights and he’s ready to go straight to the top, Jason as well, his last fight was against a really really good guy [James de la Rosa].”

“It just shows that the High Performance Unit we came through was brilliant and that’s credit to the coaches. It’s played a huge role for all of us who’ve turned pro.”

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: