West Belfast warrior Tommy Tolan has his eyes firmly fixed on Irish titles and the 37-year-old believes that a move down to middleweight could see him realise a career-long dream. ‘The Tiger’ meets oft-beaten Phil Townley (left) on the Tyson Fury September 17 undercard and he views the bout purely as a stepping stone to bigger things.
“I know a wee bit about Phil Townley, he’s been talking on YouTube, saying that he will knock me out but not to worry, I’ll be too strong and punching too hard for him on the night,” said Tommy. “This will be a stepping stone on to Irish titles. I’m moving down to middleweight and I’ll take on any of the fighters down there. Gary O’Sullivan or even Robbie Long, at the drop of a hat I’ll be in the ring. My weight is bang on and I’m shedding the rust. I’m firing on all cylinders; you’ll see the real me in my next fight.”
His last fight was a retirement loss to Dungiven starlet Eamon O’Kane in Craigavon. Tommy rates O’Kane but reckons he could be in hot water for his next contest – a scheduled six-rounder with Ballymena’s Joe Rea.
“Eamon’s a good kid, a good puncher but he has his work cut out in his next fight. Joe Rea’s tricky and if he gets his training right then O’Kane will do well to beat him. Joe’s smart, slick and switch hits a bit. I’m not predicting an upset but it will be a tough fight.”
Tolan has increased his fitness regime of late and is steadily shedding the excess pounds he had gained prior to returning to the ring, in Limerick (May 2010) at cruiserweight, when facing Michael Sweeney in an unforgiving comeback assignment. A consistent training schedule and some intense sparring sessions with reigning Irish light-heavyweight champion Ciaran Healy is helping mould Tommy into a more rounded fighter.
“I’m based in St. John Bosco with Gerard McCafferty and Alec Doherty. The circuit training is great and we use the Black Mountain twice a week for runs. I’d fight either of the McDonagh brothers [Paddy and JJ] as well, absolutely, let’s get it on. There’s an Irish title in me and I’ll have a go at whoever they put in front of me.”