Boxing: Tommy McCarthy turns Pro – a massive blow to IABA

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Updated: January 25, 2014

Two time. Irish heavyweight champion – and AIBA world no.9 - Belfast’s Tommy McCarthy has turned pro, joining up with John Joe Nevin’s Berkeley Sports and Media UK and Green Blood of Philadelphia. A great opportunity for the Belfast man, another savage blow to the IABA and to AIBA.

He is likely to make his pro. Debut on St.Patrick’s Day at the House of Blues in Boston on same card as Nevin.
“I am looking forward to the new challenge ahead in the pro.ranks” . A big loss to to Northern Ireland  too where he was one of their big hopes for Gold at the Commonwealth Games.

Over many months,indeed years now there have been constant complaints from the boxers and coaches throughout Ireland that the IABA has not been doing much,if anything,to help promote them or help financially.Boxers cannot be expected to fight just for the love of their sport,or their country for ever. That is not the boxing world in 2014 especially as they see the APB being launched. have the IABA been trying to persuade the AIBA to offer contracts to such as McCarthy,Conrad Cummings and co? If not why not?
They  have a short career and many have a family to support yet though everyone knew for some years that the amateur sport was changing the existing IABA Executive sat back and did little or nothing. Indeed after the great success of London 2012 there were many missed opportunities to help promote the sport and their boxers. No blame attaches to the recently appointed CEO Fergal Carruth who now faces huge challenges in the months ahead.
The existing IABA Executive contains far too many over 65′s who did really well as volunteers but have long since lost their way in the world of 2014. Time for change,immediate change methinks.  Just think of all of the recent complaints and disputes involving boxers and outspoken social media comments from such as Paddy Barnes, Mick Conlan,even Katie Taylor who was left even to organise her own bouts. Why not have involved say Brian Peters to promote them? Pride.?
The Irish Sports Council too cannot wash their hands of the problems. they provide much of the funding.Michael Ring also needs to take an active even if behind the scenes interest.the fact is that the IABA itself needs to be completely reorganised as were the ABAE in England recently.
How ridiculous that in 2014 the IABA do not even have a part time let alone a full time Commercial Manager to seek sponsorships and  TV coverage.How long before several others follow the road taken by Nevin,McCarthy and Conrad Cummings.There needs to be a massive shake up at the IABA else it is not inconceivable that top coaches like Billy Walsh,Zuar Antia and Peter Taylor could be poached by other countries sever of which have already got them on their radar.
Irish boxing has some great young administrators in the background and some top class club coaches and some excellent staff like PRO Bernard O’Neill but there needs to be an urgent shake up with the ISC involved and soon, very soon.
The elite male and female boxers need one command under the control of Billy Walsh.The women boxers have all but been ignored with little or no funding available and having to organise a concert even to get them to the European Union championships. They need a female coach to work hand in hand with the HPU coaches.  Current supremo Gerry Storey has brought his great experience to the women’s team but he is in his late 70′s and therefore but a very short term solution. Time  for change all round.
The world of ‘amateur boxing’ has changed for ever and as a first step the existing IABA Executive would do well to hand over the reigns to a younger and more professional team. As I wrote in these notes many times, time for ‘changing of the guard’ at the National Stadium!  Let us give thanks for their past efforts as volunteers but remember this is 2014 and NOT 1994. The  world has changed …. The IABA’s administrators have not.
We wish Fergal Carruth well.He has a huge task just now what with the London2012 Olympic report issues also to deal with not to mention the fall out from the independent report’s recommendations as a result of the Sandy Row complaints.Good Luck to Fergal and let the ISC and Michael Ring give him their immediate and full support.Nothing less is acceptable if Ireland is not to lose even more boxers like Tommy McCarthy,Conrad Cummings and John Joe Nevin.

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