Sh#t or get off the pot – Dunlop calls for Okolie defend against McCarthy or vacate

Mark Dunlop has called for Eddie Hearn to either make a fight between European champion Lawrence Okolie [14(11)-0] and Tommy McCarhty [16(8)-2(1)] – or prompt the English fighter to vacate and open a path for the mandatory challenger to get his shot.

A mixture of ‘ball’s’ and an impressive victory over Fabio Turchi in Italy last November saw the Lenadoon leather thrower secure EBU mandatory status.

Dunlop, who has a very close working relationship with Hearn, reveals Matchroom have agreed to promote that European shot – and Team McCarthy want it to happen sooner rather than later.

It’s believed ‘The Mack Attack’ was told once reigning champion Okolie agreed to a much talked about world title shot, the Belfast fighter would get his EBU fight.

However, a proposed fight with Poland’s Krzysztof Glowacki for the vacant WBO world title still hasn’t materialized, meaning McCarthy has been left waiting.

His manager, Dunlop doesn’t want leave his man in continental limbo much longer – and in the wake of the cruiserweight not securing a slot on the Fight Camp series the MHD boss has called for action.

“Tommy has no date yet, but to be honest I have being putting the pressure on to get the European title fight sorted,” Dunlop told Irish-boxing.com.

“Matchroom have to tell Okolie to fight Tommy or move one. We were waiting on Okolie to announce his world title fight and then we would fight for the EBU belt, which is a massive title.

“Tommy has earned his shot and if Okolie isn’t vacating he has to fight him. It’s a fight Tommy would take in a heart beat, he really fancies it.

“Okolie is undefeated, the name they all talk about and all that but Tommy is improving and doesn’t fear him at all.

“I am getting tired with it. My job is to do the whats best for Tommy and he needs to be out, he is in same predicament as everyone, he just wants to fight.”

If ‘The Sauce’ does vacate Dunlop claims McCarthy is willing to fight any of the cruisers who have populated Matchroom shows of late.

The 29-year-old wouldn’t even shy away from a fight with the only fighter to stop him, Richard Riakporhe.

“I have made it clear Tommy will fight anyone of those guys for the European title even Riakporhe.

“That is a fight they don’t need to do. Riakporhe has that win he doesn’t need to risk it, but he may if a European title is on the line. Tommy would like that fight. He knows what went wrong that night and is confident it wouldn’t happen again.”

It’s direct from Dunlop, who has worked well with Hearn and has developed a relationship that the likes of McCarthy, James Tennyson in particular, Paul Hyland Jr and more recently Eric Donovan has benefited from.

He has no concerns pushing McCarthy’s case will damage that working relationship.

“As I said I have to push for my fighter. I work well with Eddie, he has an agreement with us to do Tommy’s European title fight. That agreement was always there and we wrote to EBU to confirm that was the case. It’s obvious Tommy is well thought of and will get the chance to win a career changing title on a good card.

McCarthy was close to securing a world title shot before lockdown, an offer was made seriously considered by his team. It didn’t materialize because of the pandemic, but Dunlop explains his charge remains in a strong position.

“We have had all sorts of offers from everywhere, but he is mandatory for the European title and is in a good position. It means he is possibly just one win away from a world title shot and his two loses may make him look appealing to the champions. The Okolie fight could also be there if he wins a world title. Tommy versus Okolie would be a big world title fight.”

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