Tommy McCarthy excited by small hall return – namechecks 2019 targets

Tommy McCarthy [11(6)-1(0)] is relishing a temporary return to small hall before cleaning up the domestic scene in 2019.

One day short of a year out of the ring, the Lenadoon cruiserweight makes his comeback at the Shorts Sports and Social Club in East Belfast.

Now linked up with Mark Dunlop, McCarthy is keen to, for the first time in years, get active and build momentum.

It’s an understated return for the talented Commonwealth silver medallist and former Elite amateur but an atmospheric small hall show appeals to McCarthy at this point in time.

‘The Mac Attack’ told that “I think you’re better off fighting on these small hall shows when you’re doing these wee fights against journeymen.

“Because, see when you’re fighting [journeymen] in arenas, it’s at half five in the day, there’s nobody there, there’s no atmosphere – it’s shit.”

“At least on these wee shows, small hall, the venue is packed, there’s more atmosphere, it’s far better than going into a cold Odyssey Arena where you could hear a pin drop.”

“I fought at the Red Cow and it was brilliant, the atmosphere was electric, lion’s den material. It’s great, it gets you going.”

Now with Dunlop, McCarthy plans to get busy quickly and get into domestic fights.

The fight boss has guided the careers of James Tennyson, Ronnie Clark, and Paul Hyland Jr with aplomb in recent years and the cruiserweight talent believes he is in line for something similar.

McCarthy outlined how “we’re just starting from scratch again, rebuilding, building my record up, maybe two or three warm-up fights and then we’ll attack the big names.”

“We just want to rebuild, rebrand, get my name back out there, get people back talking about me again, and then get back in big fights,” he added before reiterating the need for ring activity.

McCarthy, who has been around the world sparring this year, feels there could still be a few flecks of ring rust on show on Saturday and noted how “you’re probably expecting me to say ‘no’ but you have to be realistic, sparring and fighting are two different things.”

“There might be a small bit [of ring rust] I don’t expect there to be – but I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a little bit. I don’t think there’ll be a lot though because I’ve been in the ring flat-out [sparring].”

On the ‘Back in Belfast’ card he will face English journeyman Kent Kauppinen [0-5(1)] – a handy mixed martial artist, as it happens – but the Belfast big man is eager to quickly rifle through his comeback bouts and into promised title fights.

The 28-year-old has been paying attention to the British scene, particularly fights on Sky Sports, and he has not been impressed.

Surveying the scene, McCarthy stated confidently that “Richard Riakporhe, I think I’m too good for him, Craig Glover, I think I’m too good for him – I think they’re good fights for me, to progress.”

“Tony Conquest, that’s another good fight for me, he’s won a few belts, he’s been around,” he continued before giving a particularly scathing assessment of the recent fight between Isaac Chamberlain and Luke Watkins.

“They’re both shit, to be honest. It was just a battle of two crap people.”

“I want to get a couple of them names in 2019 all going well.”

“I really don’t mind being in the away corner, I’m used to going away and fighting. It’s nice to be at home and have the home support but, really, I just want to be in the ring. You can put a ring anywhere, it doesn’t matter.”


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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: