Injured Tommy McCarthy was ready to take Okolie British title gamble

Tommy McCarthy [12(6)-1(0)] could have been boxing at the O2 Arena on December 22nd, challenging British champion Lawrence Okolie on the big Dillian Whyte v Dereck Chisora Sky Box Office undercard.

However, it wouldn’t have been the real Tommy McCarthy.

The Belfast cruiserweight is lacking in competitive ring sharpness and is carrying a minor knock that would perhaps make taking a fight with the extremely awkward Olympian a somewhat unwise move.

McCarthy, though, was undeterred and revealed to how “Matchroom offered me the fight for one of the December shows and I said ‘alright’.”

However, new manager Mark Dunlop intervened, and the Lenadoon star explained how “I hurt my knuckle in that last fight but I was still going to go for it until Mark told me ‘no, you need to be 100%, you don’t want to give any advantages when you’re fighting for a British title’.”

“He thinks I need another couple of fights and I’m just putting my trust in Mark because I know what he’s done with other fellas and I know what he’s going to with me.”

Now firmly one of ‘Mark’s Heavy Diggers’, 28-year-old McCarthy will instead feature on the ‘A Night To Remember’ card at the Ulster Hall on Saturday February 9th,

His second fight under Dunlop following his inactivity-breaking points win over journeyman Kent Kauppinen last month, McCarthy is keen for a stiff test.

“That fight was really just to shake the cobwebs off really,” he said of his Kauppinen win at the Shorts Sports and Social Club before looking ahead to his next Belfast night.

“This is my first time, ever, boxing in the Ulster Hall and I can’t wait.”

“It’s going to be an eight rounder and Mark is trying to get a good fight, I hope he can.”

February 9th will be solid but most likely not an opponent of note and McCarthy is keen to move into big fights as soon as possible.

“Mark’s saying two or three [more ‘solid’ fights] – I’m saying one or two!” he smiles.

“After this one, I’d like to fight for ‘something’. We’ll see what Mark thinks, at the end of the day, he’s the one putting on the shows and getting me in the positions ”

“It’s definitely going to happen for me in 2019, I’m looking forward to it.”


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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: