Boxing

Seconds Out: Tommy McCarthy rejects rumours of a switch to MGM stable

Tommy McCarthy has rejected speculation he will sign for Marbella-based fighting stable MGM

TOMMY McCARTHY has rubbished reports he is on the verge of signing with MGM.

In the wake of his first professional defeat, a shock points loss to Matty Askin in a British title eliminator last month, the talented Belfast cruiserweight had been linked with joining the growing number of Irish fighters at Matthew Macklin’s Mabella-based stable.

Belfast pros Steven Ward, Paddy Barnes, Jamie Conlan, Tyrone McKenna and Marc McCullough have all signed for MGM, but McCarthy says he intends to stay with his current manager Pat Magee.

“All the lads from Belfast who are with MGM are friends of mine so that’s probably where people are getting it from but I’m still going to be with Pat Magee,” said McCarthy.

Former super-middleweight world champion Brian Magee has been taking charge of McCarthy’s training and the Commonwealth Games silver medallist says that hasn’t changed yet either.

“I know Derry Matthews and Danny Vaughan at MGM and I’ve met them and I get on great with them but I’ve never thought of moving from Pat to MGM and they haven’t asked my either,” he said.

“I’m happy with Pat Magee as a manager and I’m happy to be part of Team Magee.”

Beating Askin would have allowed McCarthy to move seamlessly on to a winnable British title showdown with Craig Kennedy early next year.

The defeat derailed Pat Magee’s plans for him, but after getting over the initial disappointment the Belfast manager is understood to be confident he can get McCarthy back on track in 2017.

“I’m hoping to get the ball rolling early next year but I haven’t got anything sorted yet,” said McCarthy.

“I started back training again last week. I don’t think losing that fight will put me back too far because I know that I’m better than Matty Askin.

“If I fought him again I’d beat him but that night everything that could go wrong went wrong for – it was just a bad night at the office. It was a case of me boxing badly and him boxing well.”

McCarthy, and Magee stablemate Anthony Cacace, could be in line to appear on the undercard of a Matchroom bill in Belfast headlined by Ryan Burnett’s world title shot.

Matchroom boss Hearn has indicated that McCarthy and Cacace could feature on the card and he said it “wouldn’t be difficult” to look into including Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes too.

“You’ve got Paddy Barnes, you’ve got Michael Conlan, you’ve got all these kids,” said Hearn.

“It wouldn’t be difficult to speak to Top Rank and say: ‘Do you want to put Michael Conlan on in Belfast?’ or speak to Macklin and put Paddy Barnes on.”

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Katie Taylor has her second professional fight in Manchester on Saturday night  

KATIE TAYLOR has her second professional fight on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight rumble with Eric Molina at the Manchester Arena on Saturday night.

World and Olympic Games gold medallist Taylor had a successful debut at Wembley Arena on November 26 when she stopped out-gunned Karina Kopinska and she intends to follow that up against Swiss Viviane Obenauf (9-1) on an action-packed undercard.

Joshua puts his crown on the line for the second time and fights his third American in-a-row having dismantled Charles Martin inside two rounds to rip the title from the St Louis man in April at The O2 in London.

He followed that up by stopping Dominic Breazeale in the seventh round at the same venue in June, extending his unbeaten run in the paid ranks to 17 wins, all inside the distance.

In support of the main event Dillian Whyte defends his British Heavyweight title against London rival Dereck Chisora in an official eliminator for the WBC title.

Whyte makes the second defence of his belt after seeing off fellow Brixton slugger Ian Lewison in Glasgow last month, while former world title challenger Chisora can get his hands on the Lonsdale belt for the second time.

Scott Quigg returns to action after treatment on his broken jaw following his unification blockbuster with Carl Frampton, and the Bury star moves up to Featherweight as he looks to regain his status as a world champion.

Kal Yafai can become Birmingham’s first world champion but the unbeaten 27 year old faces a tough task to rip the WBA Super-Flyweight title against Luis Concepcion, the two-weight World champion that will enter the ring in his 11th World title outing.

Heavyweight wrecking ball ‘King Kong’ Luis Ortiz fights in Europe for the second time after clashing with Malik Scott in Monte-Carlo on November 12 and Hosea Burton will defend his British Light-Heavyweight title against Frank Buglioni.

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Billy Joe Saunders (left) defended his WBO Middleweight Championship against Artur Akavov on Saturday night

BILLY JOE SAUNDERS will be glad to see the back of 2016 despite finishing the year by successfully defending his WBO world middleweight title to remain unbeaten.

The 27-year-old won a unanimous points decision over Artur Akavov at the Lagoon Leisure Centre in Paisley last Saturday night.

However, the Hatfield fighter was more than unhappy with his sluggish performance in what was his first appearance since winning the belt against Andy Lee a year ago.

He was supposed to defend the title last week in Cardiff but issues with medical paperwork from the Russian's team saw the fight postponed and relocated to Scotland.

A scheduled defence against Ukraine's Max Bursak in April was scuppered after Saunders picked up a hand injury, but after finally getting into action he was left frustrated by his "zero out of 10" showing and looking forward to next year.

"2016 has just been a bad year for me," he said.

"A year out doing absolutely nothing, just losing weight for the last six months then coming back and fighting - no good. I had a bad year. I picked up a few injuries which put me back and by the time I looked around I was 15 stone. I got the weight off.

"The positive I have got to take from Saturday is you have a fighter who came in and gave his absolute all, he is not going to get any better than that, and I was on my lowest and still won. That's the only positive. But there is winning and there is winning, I like to box well and win, I just should have been getting rid of him sharpish.

"I stunk the place out. I am as truthful as they come. If I see another world champion with that performance I would say the same. I will say the same with me. I tell the truth. That doesn't belong in any top 10 and I am world champion."

Saunders, who took his record to 24-0, is targeting Gennady Golovkin, who holds the WBA (Super), WBC, IBF, and IBO middleweight titles, rather than a rematch with Chris Eubank jnr, whom he beat on a split decision in 2014.

However, he knows he will have to show significant improvement if he is to overcome the unbeaten 34-year-old Kazakh, who has won 33 of his 36 fights by knockout.

He said: “I don't mind fighting him [Eubank jnr] again, but he's not on my radar to be honest. I am looking at unification - Golovkin.

“But most definitely, I don't want to perform like that against the elite. I think I need another fight sharp and move on to bigger and better.”

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