Tommy McCarthy back in action after a year on the sidelines
AFTER a year on the sidelines, Tommy McCarthy is back in action at the Shorts Sports and Social Club on Saturday night.
The talented cruiserweight from Lenadoon parted company with MTK earlier this year and has linked up with James Tennyson’s manager Mark Dunlop and returns to action exactly 12 months after the last of his pro fights – a points win over Blaise Mendouo which took the former Commonwealth Games medallist to 11-1 as a professional.
McCarthy was on the verge of a British title shot in 2016 but lost a final eliminator against Matty Askin who went on to win the title against Craig Kennedy but lost to Lawrence Okolie in September.
McCarthy’s manager Dunlop says an Askins rematch, or perhaps an Okolie challenge, could be on the cards for next year.
“He’s three or four fights away from a title shot,” said Dunlop.
“He can’t go on any more with the journeymen. I’ve watched the Askins fight back and I thought Tommy did alright, he didn’t win it because he had the couple of knockdowns.
“I wouldn’t be afraid to take a rematch with Askins or even the likes of the British champion Lawrence Okolie, that fight is just around the corner for Tommy so he will have a big 2019. There’s no doubt about that.
“Tommy has been away sparring Mairis Breidis, he has sparred a lot of big names. We just need a win on Saturday night but his real journey starts next year on my first show on the ninth of February.
“That’s when the real tests start and Tommy wants it but you can’t beat a competitive fight. He needs a couple of competitive fights and he has given me names of possible opponents.
“He has a big heart and we’ll soon see how it all goes starting on Saturday night.”
CONRAD Cummings will take on Brian Rose for the WBO European middleweight belt in Belfast on December 7.
There had been speculation that Cummings would face Alfredo Meli in a reprisal of their 2015 Irish middleweight title draw but it has been confirmed that ‘Mr Dynamite’ will extend take on Rose in a battle for the title vacated by the injured Luke Keeler who will take on the winner.
“I’m absolutely thrilled,” said Cummings (15-2-1).
“This is a chance at redemption and to show what I’m really about. Fair play to Rose – he’s fought at world level and he’s a big name but this is a fight I’m going to win.
“I think I’ve got a lot advantages. I’m a big, strong middleweight at 27 and I’m hungry. I’ve a big chance here and Rose is not going to stop me. This is my home territory.
“It’s going to be buzzing in there on the night. My support will be right behind me because this is a big fight. It’s a real roll of the dice and roll on December 7. Guess who’s back?!”
Former Rose (29-5-1), now 33, has fought just once since he lost a WBO international middleweight title challenge in March 2017.
“I have respect for Conrad,” he said.
“I know he’s a warrior. I’m not about that trash-talk leading up to the fights. There’ll be no bad words. He believes he’s going to win – especially after watching me against Warren – but I know I’m a lot better than that.
“We’ll give the fans what they want and that’s a tear up. I know I’m going to come out on top because I believe I can outfox him.
“I’ve had two years out of the ring and before that, I hadn’t had six months out of the ring since I was nine years old.
“I knew I wasn’t going to look a million dollars against Warren. In the past, I’ve fought for world titles and been involved in great British domestic tear-ups but I knew it wasn’t going to be one of them.
“I’ve lost two stone in eight or nine weeks so fighting Warren was about getting fit, losing a lot of weight and moving on to the next one. Now I’m fit and ready and we’ll work on the things we need to do to beat Conrad Cummings.”
Also on the bill at the Titanic Exhibition Centre will be Tyrone McCullagh, Paddy Gallagher, Sean McComb, Lewis Crocker, Gary Cully, Padraig McCrory, Steve Collins jnr and Steven Donnelly.
MONAGHAN fighter Steven McKenna has followed in the footsteps of the elder brother Aaron by signing with a managerial deal with Sheer Sports Management.
It is expected that McKenna will follow in his brother’s footsteps by signing with promotional giant Golden Boy Promotions and he hopes to make his pro-debut before the end of the year.
The Smithborough native has carved out his own reputation in the LA area sparring at The Wild Card gym, Maywood Gym and Buddy McGirt’s Gym. Former heavyweight contender turned trainer Courage Tshabalala will man the corner along with father Fergal McKenna.
Meanwhile, Steven’s elder brother Aaron recorded a second round stoppage win over Able Reyes last weekend at Fantasy Springs Casino and resort. McKenna, who recently signed a deal with Adidas, moved to 6-0 (with four knockouts) with the win.
OLEKSANDR Usyk is in no rush to move up to the heavyweight division to challenge Anthony Joshua.
The Ukrainian defended his WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO cruiserweight titles - as well as the prestigious Ring Magazine belt - with a devastating eighth-round knockout of Tony Bellew at the Manchester Arena.
There have been rumours swirling for some time that Usyk is set to step up one weight class to the more lucrative heavyweight division having seemingly beaten all foes at 200lbs.
A bout against Joshua is particularly tantalising as both fighters won Olympic gold at London 2012 and have made giant strides in their unbeaten professional careers so far.
Usyk acknowledged that he will eventually move up to heavyweight but when asked about a Joshua showdown, he said through a translator "It's too early.
"If you want to speak of this then you can speak of this but we still need to wait a little bit.
"You must be professional in taking those kinds of decisions. You need to take your time to think through everything properly.
"But becoming the heavyweight champion is not what I'm dreaming of, it's my goal, it's what I'm planning to do."
Usyk defied a determined start from Bellew and a hostile reception in Manchester to gradually get on top and prove why he is regarded as one of the finest fighters on the planet irrespective of weight class.
He closed the show in spectacular fashion, following a rapier jab with a booming left hook that put Bellew on his back and forced referee Terry O'Connor to wave the count after two minutes of the eighth round.
"I was focused and concentrated, that was the assignment given to me by my corner," Usyk said. "I had to stay focused within every single round. He is a really dangerous man, he put some strong punches in.
"I told him that he is a real man, he is the father, husband and true warrior. Those kinds of fights when a warrior meets a warrior is something that should definitely take place in boxing."
Usyk now plans to take some time away from the ring after a hectic year in which he became undisputed cruiserweight champion after winning the World Boxing Super Series.
Usyk added: "Right now my biggest concern is my rest because I want to have a vacation with my family.
"I had a really tough year, it was the most difficult year of my career. It was the most successful one but the most difficult as well."