Tommy McCarthy determined to "right the wrong" in Billam-Smith rematch

Tyrone McKenna battles it out against Regis Prograis in Dubai
Tyrone McKenna battles it out against Regis Prograis in Dubai

TOMMY McCarthy wants to “right the wrong” of last summer in his rematche against Chris Billam-Smith at Manchester Arena next month.

Ian John-Lewis (since demoted from A* to A class as a judge) was one of the two officials who scored a close encounter Billam-Smith’s way and the Englishman retained his British and Commonwealth cruiserweight titles and captured McCarthy’s European belt as well. McCarthy intends to get his belt, and his global ranking, back on April 16.

“It’s the fight I wanted and for a while it looked like it wasn’t going to happen so I have to give credit to Mark Dunlop (his manager) for getting the deal done,” he said.

“I can’t wait to get in there and fix the mistake – right the wrong.”

Billam-Smith was due to make a mandatory defence of his title against former McCarthy foe Fabio Turci but that fight fell through when Turci switched targets to Richard Raikpore and so McCarthy-Billam-Smith 2 was confirmed.

“The whole thing in the first fight was I got too involved looking for the knockout,” said McCarthy.

“I wasted too many rounds and so much energy looking for the knockout. I know I can hurt him, because I hurt him early in the first fight so I need to be aggressive but smart-aggression.”

Billam-Smith is trained by former Carl Frampton cornerman Shane McGuigan. McCarthy pulled off a masterstroke when he added Frampton to his team before the first fight but the vastly-experienced two-weight world champion may not be available for the rematch.

Frampton is contracted to BT Sport as an expert summariser and, since BT also have a bill scheduled for April 16, ‘The Jackal’ is likely to be at ringside in Telford instead.

“The first time I took it all a wee bit personal because I thought Chris was disrespecting me online,” said McCarthy.

“Talking to him after the fight, he was just playing the game. This time around, I respect him as a man and it’s nothing personal, it’s strictly business and I want to be the champion – I want my belt back.

“My ultimate goal is to be world champion and I need to win this to get right back in position to do that. Prior to the first fight I was in the top five with the major governing bodies so if I win the title back, I’ll get back in that position.”

He added: “Carl doesn’t know if he’ll be able to be there. He’s put in a request so we’ll see what Frank (Warren) says.”

AN UGLY gash above his right eye forced Tyrone McKenna out of Saturday’s night WBC light-welterweight eliminator after six difficult rounds against Regis Prograis in Dubai.

The lion-hearted Belfast fighter had his moments but he shipped a fair amount of punishment from the hard-hitting American and had been dropped in the second round before the fight was waved off in the sixth after the referee took advice from the ringside doctor.

“He’s a tough man, I knew he was going to be tough and when I knocked him down, I knew he was going to get up,” Prograis, now 27-1, said.

“But I stayed calm. He kept pushing forward and so I had to change my game plan and box more.

“I’ve been world champion before and I will be world champion again.”

Tyrpically aggressive, McKenna went on the offensive from the opening bell and locked horns with Prograis in the centre of the ring at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium. Afterwards he had to concede that his opponent carried “massive power”.

“He’s world class,” he said.

“He’s heavy handed and he’s probably the hardest puncher I’ve ever been in with. He’s got massive power.”

Prograis put McKenna on his back at the start of round two with booming overhand left but the Belfast fighter, who relishes a scrap, was smiling at his rival as he lay on the canvas.

Blood started to run from the side of McKenna’s head as former world champion Prograis took a firm hold of the final eliminator.

The ringside doctor inspected McKenna at the end of the session and allowed him to continue and the ‘Mighty Celt’ whipped up his fans at ringside by attempting to mount a fightback.

Prograis remained in command, but McKenna refused to be beaten and enjoyed success in the fifth round as the American’s pace dropped.

However, a nasty cut above McKenna’s right eye opened up and forced the referee to call on the doctor to take a look. After an inspection, it was ruled that the brave McKenna was in no condition to continue and Prograis, who called out Jack Catterall after the fight, had his arm raised.

TJ Doheny produced a punch-perfect performance to stop Mexican rival Cesar Juarez in less than two rounds in Dubai on Saturday night.

Former super-bantamweight world champion Doheny may be 35 now but he was sharp and accurate from the first bell and floored Juarez with a precise back hand from his southpaw stance.

Juarez got to his feet but Doheny pounced and having connected with several more clean shots, the referee stepped in between the fighters and brought an end to the scheduled 10 rounder at 2:23 of the second session.

Now 23-3 as a pro, Doheny was thrilled with his performance.

“It feels great and I am very happy to be getting the stoppage,” said ‘The Power’.

“I felt every shot I hit him with, not just the left hook that floored him, and I knew I was breaking him down. I’m buzzing and I want more rounds.”