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Tommy McCarthy: How Katie Taylor's dad can help reignite my career

Tommy McCarthy who is fighting in Italy for the WBC International Cruiserweight title, relaxing at home in Belfast with wife Amy and daughters, Cara, Aniya, Branna and Kiya
Tommy McCarthy who is fighting in Italy for the WBC International Cruiserweight title, relaxing at home in Belfast with wife Amy and daughters, Cara, Aniya, Branna and Kiya
David Kelly

By David Kelly

Tommy McCarthy sat at ringside hoping to see his mate Michael Conlan put on a show at the Falls Park back in August but it was the performance of Dubliner Luke Keeler that really caught his eye and led to a change he believes can pay dividends this Friday night in Trento, Italy.

Cruiserweight McCarthy meets unbeaten Italian Fabio Turchi for the WBC international title and after watching Keeler cause a surprise with his dominant performance against American Luis Arias on the undercard he decided to link up with new coach Peter Taylor, the father of undisputed women's world lightweight champion Katie Taylor.

Belfast man McCarthy has not had the career so many within the sport expected him to have after turning professional in 2014 but he believes that with Taylor in his corner he can now, finally, find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Coach Taylor, based in Dublin, has taken Keeler from a run-of-the-mill middleweight to WBO World top-10 ranking due to that success over Arias, on the back of two wins over Conrad Cummings, who returns to the ring in the Ulster Hall this Friday night.

"I had been thinking about going with Pete Taylor for a while because I had been on a couple of trips with him and had seen how he worked with Katie and others in the High Performance Unit when I was an amateur. I had always been impressed with him and when I saw the way he had transformed Keeler it got me thinking about linking up with him," said McCarthy.

"But then when I saw how Keeler outboxed Arias and when I sent a text congratulating him he simply replied that it was all down to Pete Taylor.

"That was when I decided to make the call. Pete agreed to take me on and for the past couple of months I've been travelling up and down to Dublin and it has been great. I genuinely believe that Pete is one of the best coaches around and although it may seem like a bit of an issue travelling up and down every day, it doesn't bother me at all because I can see how much it is working for me.

"Pete has given me a structure again and there have been a few things he has been working on - simple things like how I stand. Just all round he has got me improving and I feel really good going into this fight. I know that Pete is very confident I can get the win and if I do it would be a big boost."

When not working out in the gym, McCarthy has his hands full helping out with his four daughters, the youngest - Kiya - arriving only 10 days ago.

"A win over Turchi would just cap off a great couple of weeks for me and the family and I would love to bring the belt back to all the girls," said McCarthy, who earlier this year lost to Richard Riakporhe when he seemed rather rusty but has bounced back with two wins.

"I know it's going to be a tough fight, particularly with it being in Italy, but I know I have to stamp my authority on the fight from early on.

"It's a huge opportunity for me because the fight is going out across the world on the streaming channel DAZN as well as on Sky Sports.

"Plus, winning this belt means you get a world ranking. So, there is a lot riding on this fight for me and I know I have to grab this chance and I can't wait to do just that."

• Belfast featherweight Michaela Walsh yesterday lost on a split 4-1 decision to Russian Liudmila Vorontsova, from the Siberian host city Ulan-Ude, in the Women's World Elite Championships.

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