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Tommy McCarthy ready to shut up his noisy rival Chris Billam-Smith



Face-off: Tommy McCarthy (left) and Chris Billam-Smith at the weigh-in. Credit: Getty Images

Face-off: Tommy McCarthy (left) and Chris Billam-Smith at the weigh-in. Credit: Getty Images

Getty Images

Face-off: Tommy McCarthy (left) and Chris Billam-Smith at the weigh-in. Credit: Getty Images

With a potential world title fight next, Tommy McCarthy knows there is no margin for error when he takes on Chris Billam-Smith for a triple crown of cruiserweight title belts at Matchroom HQ in Essex tonight (live on DAZN from 7pm).

McCarthy brings his European crown to the table with Billam-Smith the Commonwealth, while the vacant British strap is also on offer in this grudge match that has had a fiery build-up and possesses all the ingredients to hog the limelight on the first of three ‘Fight Camp’ cards.

Billam-Smith, trained by Shane McGuigan, has predicted a stoppage win in the mid-to-late rounds in response to McCarthy’s insistence the Englishman isn’t on his level given his much better amateur background and greater professional experience.

The fuse was lit for this clash when ‘CBS’ tweeted that he would “punch holes” in McCarthy days ahead of the Lenadoon man’s latest Euro title defence against Alexandru Jur in May that prompted ‘Mac Attack’ to sign up for this fight and while there is genuine needle, emotions will have to be parked when the opening bell goes.

“He’s just an eejit and has been calling me out for a good year and a half,” said McCarthy earlier this week.

“I’m pushing on and getting close to world honours, so I just felt he was disrespecting me. After all the fights that he’s had, he keeps namedropping me in the interviews, same as yer man Shane, so this is finally happening now and I can shut them up. I will put my emotions to the side and take care of business.”

Billam-Smith is heavy handed, his record of 12-1 containing 10 stoppage wins and his sole defeat coming on points to Richard Riakporke - who also has a win over McCarthy - so it is unlikely the Belfast man will enter the ring with a gung-ho approach, but instead look to box and use his skills in an effort to slow down his fellow 30-year-old and take charge.

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The Epsom native does have questions surrounding his stamina, with McCarthy insisting he gasses after the early rounds and plans to use this to his advantage.

While suggesting this may have been an issue in the past, Billam-Smith is adamant it won’t be a factor here and feels he has a style much more accustomed to a professional showdown than McCarthy whose skills, movement and distance control is a huge attribute.

“I’ve really improved my engine in this camp so I will fight at my usual high pace, but I don’t believe it will go 12 rounds,” he insists.

“He is more of a traditional boxer with a more amateur style. He uses his feet, flicks his shots and steps back, but this is professional boxing. It’s about breaking people down and knowing what to do when you’re not throwing punches.

“That’s his style and I think he can only box that way, but I can box, I can fight and I have proven that in previous fights.”

McCarthy knows he can’t take anything for granted despite exuding confidence that he will win in style and looked in fine shape when taking to the scales at yesterday’s weigh-in.

With so much riding on the outcome of this evening’s clash and Billam-Smith likely to come out of the traps fast, expect the Belfast man to box with caution early and look to gradually take control as the rounds pass.

Victory will almost certainly secure a crack at world honours, so defeat is not worth contemplating and McCarthy says he is ready for what could be a defining fight.

“It’s a big opportunity for me,” he agreed.

“This is a massive career and life-changing fight for me, so I’m busting to get into the ring and do the business.

“This is the last one before going for the world title, so it’s everything to play for. I have had to rebuild twice so I don’t want to do it again.”

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