Tommy McCarthy reveals reasons behind leaving MTK


2018 has been a frustrating year for Tommy McCarthy [11(6)-1(0)] but the Belfast cruiserweight is keen to salvage something before Christmas.

The 27-year-old last week announced that he has left management outfit MTK Global as he looks to take his career into his own hands following a second period of damaging inactivity.

It was an amicable split, with McCarthy being part of a circle of boxing friends that are all under the MTK banner.

While McCarthy had two fights in a month to start off, he would lapse into inactivity despite numerous big shows taking place in his home city.

Explaining the reasoning behind his move, McCarthy told Irish-Boxing.com that “when Matthew Macklin [former owner of MTK] signed me he said that I’d be busy and that I’d be on all the Belfast shows but all that didn’t happen.”

“The year before I got with MTK I had a year of inactivity, then I had two fights but I felt I was going down that path of inactivity again. People were starting to ask me ‘Are you still boxing? Are you still at it?’ and when people are asking you that you know it’s time to move on.”

Moves were made for McCarthy to fight on some of the big cards in Belfast but the Lenadoon favourite invariably found himself watching on from the stands.

‘The Mac Attack’ recalled how “the first big one [Frampton v Donaire] it was meant to be me and Stephen Simmons but then he got the chance to fight for the British title and it was more money so he took that which is understandable.”

“When Simmons didn’t take it, they tried to get Luke Watkins. The Board said it was to be a final eliminator [for the British title] and that it would be for the Commonwealth but Watkins didn’t want it and MTK couldn’t get anybody else in.”

“The next show [Conlan v Dos Santos] I was told I was fighting Ian Tims but then Tims took a fight against Jack Massey on the Fury show instead.”

“Then I was told ‘right, you’re going to be on in Windsor, you’ll definitely be on the Windsor show’ but then when the Windsor show came around I just wasn’t on it. I don’t know what happened.”

McCarthy is now taking the route of free agency and, while open to offers, he intends to manage his own career from here on in.

The former Elite amateur describe how “I went to Jamie [Conlan, MTK Professional Development Coordinator] and said ‘look, it’s been too long, I’m just going to manage myself and see what I can do’.”

“I’m sort of in the shop window. I’m willing and open to speak to anyone, anybody that is interested in working with me.”

“With all the sparring camps I’ve been to – I was with the Furys, I was over with Shumenov, I was with Bellew, I was in Carlos Takam’s camp – I’ve made good contacts in world boxing. I think with the contacts I’ve made I can make something happen for myself and create some opportunities.”

While his inactivity has been frustrating in its own right, this has been compounded by the activity in 2019 in the domestic cruiserweight division.

chamberlain okolie watkins

British champion Matty Askin, who defeated McCarthy in a final eliminator, defended his title against Simmons and now faces Matchroom starlet Lawrence Okolie on Saturday at Wembley.

Olympian Okolie has had a busy year, widely outpointing Isaac Chamberlain before destroying Watkins to win the Commonwealth title. These two are set to meet on October 27th on a big Matchroom show while the vacated Commonwealth belt is to be contested by Wadi Camacho and Arfan Iqbal.

“It’s so frustrating to see because, at the turn of the year, I was ahead of most of these guys in the rankings and now there’ll all in big fights, on big shows, and they’re making strides while I’m still going around sparring people.

“This Chamberlain-Watkins fight, I’m actually kind of hoping one of them pulls out so I can step in. Chamberlain and Watkins, I think I beat both of them, easy.”

“Okolie as well, all those novices he was knocking out, it’s be a different ball game with me. Okolie is a big, strong powerhouse but his boxing leaves a lot to be desired. I’m very experienced, he’s only new to boxing, I’ve been boxing since I was 12. I think I beat him too”

“I would like to fight in October or November. Ideally I’d like to fight two times before the end of the year but we’ll see how it goes. I don’t want to have a six rounder, I want to have a good competitive fight because I’ve been training all year, flat out. I would like to make some money as well, I don’t want a wee dicky fight.”

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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