Tommy McCarthy heads to the States for pro career
Exciting amateur star Tommy McCarthy has decided to turn professional and base himself in America.
The Belfast man's decision will come as a major blow to the Northern Ireland boxing team heading to the Commonwealth Games this summer as four years ago in Delhi he won silver and would have been hopeful of striking gold this time around.
The reigning Irish elite heavyweight champion will team up with former Oliver Plunkett ABC clubmates Tyrone McKenna and Anthony Cacace in Philadelphia under the guidance of Tom Moran, having been signed by Berkeley Sports and Media of the UK and Green Blood of Philadelphia, who signed John Joe Nevin last October.
McCarthy's long time mentor and Oliver Plunkett coach Patsy McAllister will continue to have a major input into his career.
McAllister said: "Tommy will spend a lot of the time with me in Belfast and then go out for about six or seven weeks to Philadelphia for each fight
"He's got himself a good deal and I'm sure he will do well. He always wanted to turn professional.
"It'll be good for him to have McKenna and Cacace over there – it's like we've transported the Plunkett to the States.
"Hopefully he will have some fights back here but mainly it will be in America at the start."
McCarthy, ranked nine in the World following his heavyweight quarter-final appearance at the World championships last year, will start his professional life as a cruiserweight.
Meanwhile, Abbey's Matthew Johnson was left "gutted" after being declared the winner of his light-heavyweight quarter-final with Padraig McCrory in the Unite Ulster Elite championships in the Dockers Club, only for the referee to subsequently disqualify him.
Johnson had been given a split decision verdict over McCrory of Gleann, but it was then discovered that he had a small piece of sponge padding over his knuckles which is against the rules.
The 24-year-old was left in disbelief as both he and Abbey coach Sandy Rice admitted they were unaware of the rule.
Johnson said: "I can't believe it, one minute I was the winner and seconds later they take it away from me. I had no idea that was the rule."
McCrory's clubmate, Paul Hyland won the fight of the night, defeating Sean Montgomery of Canal ABC on a split decision, 29-28, 29-27, 28-29 in their barnstorming light-welter quarter-final.
Eamonn Magee jnr – son of the former Commonwealth champion – also won at light-welter, outworking Immaculata's JD Meli in an entertaining contest, 30-27, 29-28, 28-28.
Results: 56kg: Gary McKenna (Old School) bt Joel Scullion (All Saints) 30-27, 30-26, 29-27.
64kg: Sean Duffy (Holy Trinity) bt Vinny Esler (All Saints) 30-27, 30-27, 29-27; Eamonn Magee (Spartans) bt JD Meli (Immaculata) 30-27, 29-28, 28-28; Paul Hyland (Gleann) bt Sean Montgomery (Canal) 29-28, 29-27, 28-29; Mark O'Hara (Holy Trinity) bt Michael Glendenning (Errigal) 29-27, 29-27, 29-27.
81kg: Padraig McCrory (Gleann) bt Matthew Johnson (Abbey) disq.
Women's 60kg semi-finals: Alannah Audley-Murphy (Eastside) bt Carla Wright (Holy Trinity) 39-37, 39-37, 40-36; Sarah Close (Abbey) bt Carly McNaul (Eastside) 39-36, 39-37, 39-36.