Tommy McCarthy reflects on Matty Askin defeat

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There was an unfamiliar feeling for Tommy McCarthy [9(5)-1(0)] on Saturday night.

The Belfast big man fought Matty Askin in a British cruiserweight title final eliminator and not only did he suffer his first professional defeat, he also hit the canvas for the first time ever.

‘The Mac Attack’ went down twice in the fourth, the second of which saw his badly hurt. McCarthy fought back well from the near-stoppage, and seemed to have a slight upper hand for a majority of the remaining rounds . However, the Irishman was denied on the scorecards by an overly wide margin of 116-111 x2, 117-110 which perhaps didn’t reflect the tightness of the fight.

Speaking to VIP Boxing afterwards, McCarthy recalled the dramatic fourth, and described how “my gameplan was to outbox him, try to draw him on to me – but he had the same idea, and once I tried to put the pressure on him I left myself open. Matty is very fast, I didn’t think he would be as fast as that, or maybe I was slower, I couldn’t find the target and he clipped me.”

“That was my first time ever going down, amateur, pro, sparring, ever.”

The Brian Magee-trained fighter was in the best shape of his career for the fight in Manchester, and recovered strongly from the hurtful round as well as easily handling his first twelve rounder. Indeed the fifth round saw Askin look to finish the fight, before McCarthy himself landed a huge left that badly stunned the Blackpool boxer. McCarthy felt that “I came back, won the next round, and I thought I clawed my way back. I thought I came back and recovered well.”

Normally a back-foot counter-puncher, McCarthy was forced into the slightly unfamiliar and uncomfortable role of chasing a fight, and he admitted that “that’s my game, boxing, but I had to put the pressure on Matty, especially after he clipped me, but it didn’t work. Matty, he done everything right, he done everything he needed to do.”

The popular Lenadoon man refused to feel too bad about the loss, and offered his congratulations to the victor, who will now go on to face Welshman Craig Kennedy for the vacant Lonsdale belt. McCarthy explained how “that’s sports, you win some you lose some, it’s not the end of the World or anything. I’m not hurt or anything, my feelings are a bit hurt getting beat.”

“He done what he had to, he implemented his game plan, fair f*cks to him he got the win. I reckon he’ll probably go on and win this British title now. Well done to him, no hard feelings.”

Watch Tommy McCarthy’s interview with VIP Boxing TV in full below:

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie