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McCarthy ready to rise to Riakporhe challenge

Tommy McCarthy works the pads with trainer, Tony Dunlop ahead of tonight's WBA Inter-Continental cruiserweight title fight against Richard Riakporhe in Peterborough
Picture By Mark Robinson. Tommy McCarthy works the pads with trainer, Tony Dunlop ahead of tonight's WBA Inter-Continental cruiserweight title fight against Richard Riakporhe in Peterborough Picture By Mark Robinson.
By David Mohan

TOMMY McCarthy knows he must rise to the occasion in Peterborough tonight (Saturday) as he bids to relieve Richard Riakporhe of the WBA Inter-Continental cruiserweight title, live on Sky Sports.

McCarthy has enjoyed two routine wins since linking-up with manager, Mark Dunlop at the end of last year including an eight round points victory over Jiri Svacina at the Ulster Hall three weeks’ ago.

Those rounds and competitive action will have served ass excellent preparation, but the 28 year-old Lenadoon man will also be aware he faces a much tougher examination against Riakporhe who defeated Sam Hyde in eight rounds back in October to move to 8-0.

The Londoner seized his big chance in Manchester back in November, so it’s now up to McCarthy to do the same.
He will be well aware of what a defeat could mean for his career that is only now building some momentum after a British title eliminator loss to Matty Askin back in 2016.

That loss left McCarthy frozen out of the title picture and only now he has got another chance to shine and he is adamant he will do just that.

“This could open doors for me,” he said.

“This will be the biggest fight of my career, so we will make sure we’re going to win it because there’s no other option.”

Riakporhe is supremely confident he will retain his title in style and claims that McCarthy will prove to be an easier night’s work than his win over Hyde.

The pair have a common opponent in Svacina, with Riakporhe taking just two rounds to get the win, but that will mean little come the opening bell on Saturday.

“I’m feeling good going into this fight as I believe Sam Hyde is a better opponent than Tommy McCarthy,” said Riakporhe.

“That’s meant as no disrespect to Tommy as he’s a fighter that I’ve watched a lot of and have admiration for. I remember watching the Commonwealth Games back in 2010 and he looked pretty decent then.

“He’s got a good skillset and a solid background, but I believe that this is my time now and the momentum is in my corner.

“There’s no way I’m overlooking Tommy as every fight is a huge risk and anything can happen, but I’ve got the bit between my teeth and I’ll be prepared come fight night.”

It would be a mistake to rule out the West Belfast man who proved his boxing credentials during a fine amateur career and also has displayed significant power, so he travelled to England full of confidence this week.

“I haven’t seen anything I’m worried about,” said McCarthy.

“I think he’s limited; he’s like a big novice boxer if you watch him. He has seven knockouts but he hasn’t fought anybody. That last knockout against Sam Hyde wasn’t a knockout because Sam had to be pulled out by his corner because he had a bad injury.

“In his mind and in the media’s he is this big, devastating puncher – he has seven stoppage wins and I have six and I have fought better opposition than him.

“There’s not much difference in our punch power, I’m a big puncher myself and everybody knows that. I always have been since the amateurs.

“It’s a big opportunity for me. It’s a fight that I believe I can win. A win here gets me in the top ten in the World with the WBA, it’s really exciting. It’s an opportunity that I’m going to take with both hands.”

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