Tommy McCarthy halts retirement talk and promises to grab his opportunity next time

Tommy McCarthy [10(6)-1(0)] effectively came out of retirement at the tender age of 26 to record victory over Peter Hegyes at the SSE Odyssey Arena last Saturday and claims he now knows just how important grabbing your moment in the spotlight is.

The Belfast cruiser revealed he all but hung up his gloves on three occasions during a frustrating eleven-month period of inactivity after a British title reverse suffered at the gloves of Matty Askin back in November.

It wasn’t that the Lenadoon big man had lost confidence in his ability or felt he hadn’t the capability to compete at domestic level or beyond following his first career defeat, rather he became frustrated at how losing his 0 killed the serious momentum he had built up while progressing quickly through the ranks.

The 2010 Commonwealth silver medalists saw dates come and go and became disillusioned to the point of regularly threatening retirement. However, ‘The Mac Attack’ is back now having returned to the ring on the massive Ryan Burnett v Zhanat Zhakiyanov undercard with a first round stoppage win and is further motivated in the knowledge of what a defeat can do to a career.

He mused afterwards how “when you get opportunities, you have to grab them with both hands now because I’ve experienced first hand what it’s like to have a loss. It just puts you back.”

“The same thing happened to Askin. When he came to spar, he was telling me when he lost, he didn’t box for another 11 months so maybe he put the scud on me. But now I’m back and I just want the big fights next year, I don’t care who against as the belts change that often” added a fighter who has name-dropped Luke Watkins, Stephen Simmons, and Askin as potential opponents over the last week

McCarthy fights again on the November 18th ‘Frampton Reborn’ bill alongside the likes of Carl Frampton, Jamie Conlan and Paddy Barnes and wants to bank some rounds before he targets big domestic names in the New Year.

Mac Attack not only is he capable of beating the British level names at the weight, but is adamant his ranking and standing makes those fights attainable.

“We are two fights away from the big time again. I’ve had a taste for it with the [Jon Lewis] Dickinson fight and now we’re close to it again. I want to have another fight to have a couple more rounds next.”

“I have been doing it in sparring, but I want to do it in the ring. On BoxRec, I’m still in the top five of the GB rankings so my name is still in the mix.”

Reflecting on Saturday’s performance the Matthew Macklin-managed fighter revealed he would have like more rounds, but is claims you can’t plan for rounds when you can’t legislate for power.

“Obviously I would have liked to have more rounds, but if I catch someone clean, it’s always going to end early. I just felt great to be back in there. It was just an aul McCarthy special. Sometimes they don’t look like big ones, but then somebody’s lying on the deck. I surprise myself sometimes.”

Coach Ensley Bingham was happy with the win and is confident he has a fighter that can reach World level, but despite being full of positivity did reveal McCarthy had found it tough not fighting.

The former light middleweight world title challenger explained how “you don’t know how bad it’s been. We were promised fights in January, February, March, May, then June, July and it wasn’t happening, so the frustration was hard. Tommy was losing motivation, talking about retiring and I’m trying to keep him going, telling him he is close to being successful.”



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