Tommy McCarthy closing in on a Celtic Nations title shot

Tommy McCarthy moved to 7-0 last Saturday night and could fight for the Celtic Nations title early next year
Tommy McCarthy moved to 7-0 last Saturday night and could fight for the Celtic Nations title early next year

TOMMY McCARTHY is being lined up to fight Stephen Simmons for the Celtic Nations cruiserweight title.

McCarthy’s manager Pat Magee has requested that the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) make the ambitious Belfast cruiser mandatory challenger for Simmons’ belt and he wants them to add some extra gloss by upgrading the contest to British title eliminator status.

“Simmons has never defended the title,” explained Magee, who was ringside in London last Saturday night to watch McCarthy outclass game Hungarian Martin Szatmari.

“I’m asking the board to appoint Tommy as mandatory contender for the Celtic title and to add some weight to it by having it declared as an eliminator for the British title.”

The BBBofC have already nominated a final British title eliminator between Tony Conquest and Craig Kennedy, who are due to fight on February 6, with the winner going on to meet champion Ovill McKenzie. However, McKenzie could vacate the belt to pursue a world title. If he does and McCarthy beats Simmons, he could then meet the winner of Conquest-Kennedy for the vacant title.

Interesting times are ahead for McCarthy, who impressed on TV last Saturday night. The former Oliver Plunkett ABC star showcased fast hands and stylish skills over six rounds against Szatmari.

“He was a tough, tough guy,” said McCarthy.

“I was trying to stop him and, everything I hit him with, he just stood up to it. But it was good to get six rounds on TV - the longer on TV, the better and I got all good feedback from everyone.”

McCarthy caught Szatmari with big shots off both hands, but rushed in to finish him off when picking a power punch might have been a better option. Channel 5’s expert summariser Richie Woodall said there was no need for him to rush into title fights and the Commonwealth Games medal winner agreed.

“He’s right, there is no rush,” he said.

“I just turned 25 last month, so I’ve got time on my side and, as a cruiserweight, 25 is still very young. I only turned pro last year as well, so there’s no mad rush, but I want to be world champion at least by the time I’m 30, but preferably before it.”

McCarthy will fight again on Saturday night in Blackpool - his opponent hasn’t been confirmed as yet - and is enjoying his partnership with Brian Magee, who was in his corner for the first time in London.

“It’s been brilliant, we just gelled straight away,” said McCarthy.

“He’s such a nice guy and easy to work with and he knows the game, everything’s still fresh in his mind because the last fight he had was a world title fight and it was only a couple of years ago. He knows what you have to do to operate at that level.”

Another win on Saturday night would bring McCarthy to 8-0 and bring a successful year to a very positive conclusion.

“The fight at the Féile [points win over Courtney Fry] was the highlight of my career so far, so to come away with two wins is a great way to cap it off and then we can push on next year,” said McCarthy.

“I want to climb the ladder - British, Commonwealth, Irish, European… but my main objective out of all of this is to be world champion. It takes time and you have to be patient, a lot of hard work and dedication.

“I’ve been boxing from I was a kid, so it’s all building up to the one big thing that I’ve always wanted - being world champion.”