'The wee lad talks sh*te': Tommy McCarthy hits back at Johnny Nelson criticism

West Belfast cruiserweight Tommy McCarthy claimed the EBU European title with a points victory over Belgium's Bilal Laggoune on Saturday night
Neil Loughran

NEW European champion Tommy McCarthy has hit back at Johnny Nelson after the Sky Sports pundit claimed the west Belfast cruiserweight had “hit his ceiling” with Saturday night’s victory over Bilal Laggoune.

McCarthy has bounced back from a devastating 2019 defeat to Richard Riakporhe by reeling off four wins on the trot – the last two victories over Fabio Turchi and Belgian Laggoune pushing him right into the world title mix.

However, Nelson wasted no time in suggesting that European title success might be as far as McCarthy goes, and urged the 29-year-old to “prove me wrong”.

“You have to take the rough with the smooth AND, at the end of the day, everyone can’t be ‘Team Tommy’,” he said of Nelson, who held the WBO cruiserweight title from 1999-2005.

“It doesn’t annoy me too much, but I don’t have to prove nothing to Johnny Nelson. Who is he? He’s a good talker, but he was probably the most slated boxer in British boxing history – he was even booed at some of his own fights.

“I think Johnny has this wee thing where he doesn’t want any other cruiserweights to do better than him. The wee lad talks sh*te. The amount of sh*te he talks is unbelievable.”

McCarthy hopes to be back in action around March next year, and reiterated his desire to pit himself against current cruiserweight kind Marius Breidis, having sparred the Latvian back in 2018.

“Do you think I’d be calling him out if it went bad?” he laughed when asked how those rounds had gone.

“One of my kids had just been born and I went out there for a week. I hadn’t been training, they told me I wouldn’t do any more than six rounds, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I was thinking I’ll be able to survive for six rounds, but when I got there I was shocked how well I did.

“I know sparring and fighting are different, but I was far bigger than him and took a lot of confidence. He’s the top dog, has been for some time, and I really do want that fight.”

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