Boxing

Former trainer Brian Magee wishes boxer Tommy McCarthy well after their split

Tommy McCarthy celebrates after beating Jon Lewis Dickinson in his third fight with Brian Magee in his corner
Andy Watters

BRIAN MAGEE has wished boxer Tommy McCarthy success in his career, despite their recent split.

Former world super-middleweight champion-turned trainer Magee parted company with McCarthy after the talented cruiserweight suffered a surprise loss in a British title eliminator to Matty Askin in November.

Reaching British title level would have been a career checkpoint for McCarthy and so the defeat - the first of his career - was a major setback. Afterwards, Magee decided their paths were heading in different directions and ‘T-Mac’ chose to team up with Manchester-based coach Ensley Bingham.

Magee wished McCarthy well and said there were no hard feelings despite the split: “We had trouble in the last training camp, so we just decided to go our separate ways,” said the trainer.

“I think he’s happy enough - my way of training and his way are two different things. At the start, we got on really well, he did what he was told, but the last camp wasn’t good and it’s a pity, he’s a very talented guy, but we just didn’t gel.

“In boxing, you have one trainer and you have to listen to him. If you start looking elsewhere, you get distracted and you don’t follow the gameplan. That’s the danger.”

McCarthy - who will continue to be managed by Pat Magee - now has a 9-1 record and will have a willing sparring partner at Bingham’s Manchester gym in fellow cruiserweight Sam Hyde.

“He should never have lost to Askin,” said Magee.

“He should have went out and destroyed that guy, but he didn’t do it. I’d still be confident that, if he can get back on track the way he was when I first got him and trained him for his first fight [a points win over Martin Szatmari, which was followed by subsequent success against Vladimir Reznicek and Jon Lewis Dickinson], he’ll do well.

“I think Ensley Bingham is the best choice out there at the minute because he’ll get plenty of sparring over there. I hope he goes on and does well, he might realise that he had a good thing going here, but he’s still young, he only has one defeat, so he can still move on. Fingers crossed.”

Magee is still training Celtic super-featherweight champion Anthony Cacace and hopes to install a boxing ring into his Magee Health and Fitness facility on Belfast’s Blackstaff Way.

“I told Tommy early on in the training: ‘If you get beat, nobody is going to look to those other guys - they’re going to blame me. I’m the one that’s going to get the blame, nobody else’,” he added.

“It happened, but I have no guilty conscience about it. I can only show him the way and guide him the best I can and it’s the same with Cacace.

“When Tommy was with me, he put it in and, if you want to be a world champion, you can’t just do it on Facebook and Twitter, you have to put the work in behind the scenes, behind closed doors. You have to be doing the work when nobody sees you - that’s where the fights are won and lost.”

Meanwhile, Frank Warren has confirmed Paddy Barnes will make his second professional appearance at the Waterfront Hall on Saturday, February 18, live and exclusive on BoxNation.

Belfast's two-time Olympic medallist made his pro debut at the Titanic Exhibition Centre on November 5 and won after outclassed Stefan Slavchev lifted him during the fourth round and was disqualified.

“The atmosphere for my debut was unbelievable and I can't wait to return,” said Barnes.

“Irish boxing just keeps getting better and I'm delighted to be a part of it. We have some really exciting plans for the next 12 months and it all begins at the Belfast Waterfront on February 18.”

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