Tommy McCarthy’s confidence is “sky-high” under new coach following Bellew sparring

Tommy McCarthy [9(5)-1(0)] suffered the first defeat of his career in November, but the Belfast big man is feeling more confident than ever heading into his return to the ring next month.

The cruiserweight was dropped twice and outpointed by Matty Askin in a British title final eliminator in Manchester, missing out on the opportunity to fight Craig Kennedy for th Lonsdale belt.

In the aftermath of the fight, McCarthy would amicably part company with trainer and former European super middleweight champ Brian Magee. He then linked up with Ensley Bingham at the Champs Camp in Manchester, where he had spent time sparring Sam Hyde in the build up to the Askin eliminator.

McCarthy is loving his new surroundings, and an opportunity to be Tony Bellew‘s chief sparring partner for the David Haye pay-per-view has bolstered his confidence and allowed him to gel with the former British light middleweight champion and world title challenger.

The Lenadoon fighter told Irish-Boxing.com that “once me and Ensley started working together it was just before Christmas. Bellew got in contact in the New Year and, from January till the last week of his camp, me and him were driving up a two hour drive from Manchester to Rotteram. We got to know each other and it was better him getting to know me that way than fighting a couple of journeyman.”

“Me and Ensley were working in the gym sparring with the number one cruiserweight in the whole world. We’ve clicked and everything’s great. I feel like I’ve known him all my life. I love it.”

The past few months has McCarthy feeling good despite losing his 0, and he added that “my confidence hasn’t been knocked. My confidence has actually been built. It’s sky-high at the moment from sparring with Bellew and working with Ensley Bingham. Everything’s going the right way and I don’t need to ease back in, I need to jump back in and let everybody know that that [the Askin loss] was just a minor setback.”

In terms of when this fight will be, there is no confirmed date, but McCarthy revealed that “we’re looking at April, the end of April. I’ve been told I’m definitely fighting in April. The plan is to fight in a ten round, meaningful fight. There’s no point in me coming in and doing a wee four or six rounder against some eejit.”

The 26 year old has not fought at home since outpointing Courtney Fry on the Féile Fight Night in Belfast back in August 2015, and McCarthy is hoping for a return soon.

“Definitely,” he replied when asked if he has plans to fight at home. “In the future I’ll be back fighting here. I love Belfast, I’m a Belfast boy. It just hasn’t been able to happen since the last time.”

“Belfast is a great boxing city, and everybody’s supporting me. Next time I’m here I’ll have great support and it will be a great atmosphere.”

“The Féile show was a great success, almost 2,000 came out and I was headlining in an eight rounder, no belt. I know the support is there.”

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