Tommy McCarthy ready for big Sky Sports fight following “dress rehearsal”


Tommy McCarthy [13(6)-1(0)] is ready to get the show on the road after coming through an Ulster Hall dress rehearsal on Saturday night.

‘The Mac Attack’ didn’t fluff his lines against Jiri Svacina and is now ready to step back into the spotlight with and put on a performance against Richard Riakporhe live on Sky Sports next month in Peterborough.

With a clash with the unbeaten puncher live on Sky Sports just around the corner, fighting Svacina was somewhat of a risk.

Not that the Czech veteran could threaten victory, but the tough awkward operator had the potential to cut the Belfast talent and injury is a possibility in any fight regardless of an opponent’s level.

However, McCarthy claims the Ulster Hall bout was a calculated risk and one that paid off ahead of his March 2nd WBA Inter-Continental title fight.

The languid Lenadoon puncher felt he needed more competitive rounds going into the ‘biggest fight’ of his career.

A year lay off was not the ideal prep for a bout that could open massive doors so, returned with victory over four in November, eight rounds on Saturday was exactly what the doctor ordered, suggests the MHD fighter.

“That is what we wanted,” McCarthy noted after the fight.

“We got exactly what we needed for the March 2nd. We got a good distance in. I said before in the interviews coming into this you can spar all day but you need to be in there to acclimatise to competition.”

“It would have been no use going in and blasting him out in a couple of rounds. What’s the point? It was good to get the eight rounds in. He is an experienced journeyman so it was good he was able to survive,” he added before drawing an amateur comparison.

“When we were in the High Performance we used to do test matches before we went to a big tournament, so that there was like a test match for me. A dress rehearsal so to speak.”

The football friendly equivalent sets McCarthy up nicely for his clash with Riakporhe on a Matchroom JDNXTGEN card. 

With seven knockouts from eight fights and a bit of Sky hype behind him, McCarthy’s London opponent looks a genuine test.

However the former amateur standout and Commonwealth silver medallist seems more motivated by the occasion and what a win can do for him than any potential Riakporhe threat.

The cruiserweight division domestically, and even globally, looks interesting and open. Matchroom are looking for names to populate their ranks and a victory over the Londoner would see the ‘Big Tommy’ take a massive step toward the Anthony Joshua-mentored British champion Lawrence Okolie.

“A win on March 2nd and it opens all doors for me. It’s the biggest fight of my career. We are going to make sure we win because there is no other option,” he adds before suggesting he isn’t worried about being an away fighter because he plans to make it impossible for the cards to be favourable to the WBA #12.

“It doesn’t matter to me at all. I expect to always win clearly. The only way that is an issue is if it’s a close fight. I am not planning for it to be close I am planning to win by a big margin.”

“I am ready for it now and tonight set me up great for. It’s great to be active, lack of activity is a killer for all boxers. Mark Dunlop is doing the business so I can’t complain,” he adds before admitting he had more than just victory on his mind during Saturday’s fight.”

“I had to be cautious myself because he was throwing wild swings so once he was on the ropes and swaying if I had of lunged in he could have got me with a wild swing or his head. Maybe in the second or third he did catch me with the head so I had to be cautious, as I said, March 2nd is the big one.”

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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