Home Boxing News Exclusive Interview: Ring News 24 chats to super featherweight Maxine McCarthy

Exclusive Interview: Ring News 24 chats to super featherweight Maxine McCarthy

Ringnews24.com: What made you decide to take up boxing at the age of 29?

Maxine McCarthy: I turned professional at 29 but I actually started boxing at an early age. My dad was a professional boxer so it was always in the family. I always trained but just never fought. I did have 6 white collar fights when I was about 27 and won all of them. My dad was the one who got me into boxing. He was a boxer and I used to love what he did and it motivated me to do the same. I was training in the gym one day and there was a guy called Tom Bruggen there doing a documentary on him turning people who hardly had any experience into professionals. He trained us for about 2 years. There were hundreds of guys come and go but the only one who stayed the whole time and made it was me.

Ringnews24.com: Did you not think about trying your hand at amateur level first?

Maxine McCarthy: No, I just didn’t want to. I don’t like headgear for starters and I like being thrown in at the deep end. That’s probably my personality. I’ve got a strong personality so when I make a decision, that’s it. I just trained so hard to become pro and that’s what I wanted. I trained with a guy who was a Commonwealth champion for my first fight.

Ringnews24.com: Can you tell us about your father’s boxing career?

Maxine McCarthy: He was a light welterweight, had about 120 amateur fights in Ireland and then turned professional but fought under different names because he wasn’t supposed to be fighting due to injury. He won quite a lot but eventually he had to stop because of injuries. Nowadays a lot of boxers are mollycoddled in a way whereas back in his day they just threw him in with anyone.

Ringnews24.com: I read that you’re also into bodybuilding?

Maxine McCarthy: Well, if we go back to when I was a kid I was always heavily involved in sports at school; I won lots of awards and stuff because of it. My brother in law had a gym and was into bodybuilding so I took it up myself at 16 after I left school. I’ve just always been interested in fitness. I’ve worked at gyms, I went to university and got a degree in sports science and I’ve done boxing. I’d say there hasn’t been more than a week in my life where I haven’t trained; that’s how much I love fitness and boxing.

Ringnews24.com: Do you plan to use your degree in relation to sport once you retire?

Maxine McCarthy: I’ve actually already got three jobs. I teach women boxing and fitness; it’s not exactly a boxing gym but I teach women everything about boxing and keeping fit. I also give them dietary advice and things like that. It’s really like a women’s centre. When I’m not doing that I’m a medical aesthition; that’s my main job. I don’t get paid a great deal as a boxer so it’s a good thing I have my other jobs because it allows me to reach my goals in boxing.

Ringnews24.com: Some people may say you’re too old to get into boxing. Do you think that is a fair comment or do you feel as fit as ever?

Maxine McCarthy: If you look at women’s boxing I’m actually quite young still. There are women fighters who turn pro at 37 or 38 all the time. To me age is just a number. It’s about your lifestyle and how you look after your body. If I had only taken up boxing a couple of weeks ago then yeah maybe it is a bit too late. But my fitness and physique isn’t the same as the average woman or girl. I get up in the morning and go and run 9 miles with a backpack on; and that’s just a warm up for me. So I don’t think age has got anything to do with it. I’m the fittest mentally and physically than I have ever been in my life. I’ve had to fight a lot of foreign opponents because they’re more like journeymen in that they’ll fight into their 40s. Personally, I won’t be fighting past 35 because I’ve got other things I want to do with my life. I’ve built a business off of boxing and not just gone into it for the fighting.

Ringnews24.com: Do you perhaps regret not getting into boxing sooner?

Maxine McCarthy: No, because there are no opportunities for women in boxing and I wouldn’t have got to where I am had I not been a ticket seller. I don’t get on cards for just my talent alone but because I’ve also always been a big ticket seller; that’s why I’ve managed to fight on Eurosport with the Hattons. Promoters don’t have any reason to put women on cards unless they can sell tickets.

Ringnews24.com: So you must’ve met the Hattons?

Maxine McCarthy: Yeah, I used to train up his gym once a week. I’ve met his brother and his dad Ray.

Ringnews24.com: Have you always been a fan of boxing?

Maxine McCarthy: Yeah, I’ve always loved it because of my dad. Mike Tyson was always a favourite of mine; I loved his aggressive style and fights and I liked Ricky Hatton too. Nowadays I like Matty Clarkson, David Barnes and Tyson Fury.

Ringnews24.com: Where do you train?

Maxine McCarthy:  I train at Champs camp in Moss Side under Darren Philips. He trains Muay Thai too and has worked with guys like Scott Quigg. He’s one of the best technical coaches in the country.

Ringnews24.com: You haven’t fought for a year. Do you have a fight lined up this year?

Maxine McCarthy: A few dates were looked at but nothing is certain yet. I was supposed to fight but it got called off.

Ringnews24.com: You were supposed to fight Christina McMahon for the Irish featherweight title last year but the fight never materialised. Why was that?

Maxine McCarthy: I wanted to fight her and said I would be willing to get down to about 9.5 stone and she was willing to go up to about 9 stone. It’s a weight issue between us as she’s too light and I’m too heavy. The thing with me is I can’t physically get down that low. I’m quite muscular so if I lose too much weight I basically lose muscle and it makes me quite weak. My weight now is 9 stone 6lbs. I’m not going down further than that. I was approached again a few months ago but they never got back to me again.

Ringnews24.com: You’ve fought from featherweight up to lightweight. So would you say super featherweight is your best weight then?

Maxine McCarthy: Yeah, I’m currently 9 stone 8lbs and want to fight at 9 stone 6lbs and that’s what I want to stay at. At this weight I won’t lose my power. I’ve never been the best technical boxer but my strength is what has always won me fights. I’ve managed to work on the technical side of my game while I’ve been out of the ring though.

Ringnews24.com: How would an ideal year look for you?

Maxine McCarthy: Hopefully we can get a fight date sorted and get that out of the way and maybe another one soon after that. Hopefully a couple more fights next year too. I’ve had some offers to fight abroad but I just don’t think it’s the right time to go yet.

Ringnews24.com: I know it’s often difficult for women boxers to get fights because of the lack of opponents. Has that been a problem for you?

Maxine McCarthy: Well, like I say I could get some opponents in from abroad but before you’ve even started you have to make £2000 to pay for your opponent. On top of that you have promoters and stuff like that. A woman has to do about £4000 in order to make money; I can actually do that. I could’ve fought twice in the last 10 months but it’s been tough for me. I’ve been mentally drained from opening a new business and working several jobs. I just needed the time out for myself which I hadn’t had for about 3 years. It isn’t easy for a woman in boxing because not that many people are interested in watching them fight.

Ringnews24.com: Women’s boxing is getting a bit bigger in places like the USA, Mexico and Germany but would you say it’s still a bit thin on the ground in the UK?

Maxine McCarthy: The USA has some good fighters like Maureen Shea, for example. To be honest I don’t think it will ever be big in Britain even after this year’s Olympics. There aren’t many professional women boxers in Britain.

Ringnews24.com: Female boxers seem to be making it onto TV events more often than before. Will we see you on our TV screens soon?

Maxine McCarthy: Hopefully. I wouldn’t mind being involved in a reality TV style documentary on my boxing career. That would be good and could happen that way too.

Ringnews24.com: Are you happy with the progress you have made so far?

Maxine McCarthy: Yeah, very happy. I’ve achieved a lot in boxing so far. It takes a lot of heart to step into the ring and fight in front of all of those people. People often forget about the hard work which goes on behind the scenes too. I don’t drink, I don’t go out, I don’t socialise and all I do is work and train. I’m happy with the trainers I’ve worked under and getting on Eurosport. It’s all been good.

Ringnews24.com: How did you come up with your nickname “Mad Max”?

Maxine McCarthy: Because I’m mental! [Laughs] I suppose it’s my training methods and personality. I’m quite an aggressive fighter.

Ringnews24.com: This was a massive year for women’s boxing with it debuting at the Olympics. What is your opinion of the women’s fight game?

Maxine McCarthy: Yeah, some women boxers are really good but some of them aren’t very good. For women’s boxing to make a move up a notch they can’t just rely solely on talent. They’ve got to bring that same buzz that men’s boxing brings. Fans want to watch something that interests them and most women fighters don’t interest them.

Ringnews24.com: Do you respect what women boxers do more now considering you know how much effort they put into it?

Maxine McCarthy: I didn’t really know anybody who boxed before so didn’t know how they trained or anything like that so I can only go by what I’ve done. Obviously I respect what women do a lot but with my case I’ve had everything else to deal with too. Boxing is a very tough sport which really takes over your life.

Ringnews24.com: Who do you consider to be the number one female boxer in the World today?

Maxine McCarthy: I’d say I’m one of the best as I haven’t been beaten. There are some bigger names out there though like Anne Sophie Mathis who has had a lot more fights. My plans are to build my way up to that level.

Ringnews24.com: Have you encountered any negative views towards you being a female boxer or do you think the old stereotypes surrounding women’s boxing are gone?

Maxine McCarthy: Yeah I’ve heard a lot of negative things. I do get a lot of positives but I also hear things like “why are you doing that?”, “you’re a good looking girl, why do you box?”, “you should leave it to men” and stuff like that. Boxing is a tough sport so unless you take it seriously you shouldn’t be doing it.

Ringnews24.com: Have your family and friends been supportive of your decision to take up boxing?

Maxine McCarthy: My dad is very proud. He says that he would have thought it would have been one of his boys who would turn professional and not one of his girls. My mum died 10 years ago but she would be very proud although maybe she wouldn’t have wanted me to fight at first. My brothers are amateurs. I’ve also got a massive fan who is a little bit crazy. She made it into Boxing Monthly after one of my fights.

Ringnews24.com: Why was that?

Maxine McCarthy: Well, they did a write-up on her because she was so loud they moved her from the front row to the back. They had to put a security guard next to her. She tries to get in the ring if I’m getting hurt. [Laughs] She has my name tattooed on her. She’s a nice girl though.

Ringnews24.com: What was your family’s first reaction when you first said you wanted to become a boxer?

Maxine McCarthy: Well, when my dad knew I was training he thought it was good and said I’d do well but to be honest I never really spoke about it much. The local papers built up quite a bit of a story about me making my pro debut so I sort of left it to them. I’ll never forget my pro debut.

Ringnews24.com: Do you have any advice for women who are considering taking up boxing?

Maxine McCarthy: It’s a hard career and a long one; you have to be patient to get to the top. There are a lot of ups and downs along the way. Be careful not to get used and you have to be in love with boxing really and be determined. The downs I’ve experienced in boxing have made me more determined to accomplish my goals though.

Ringnews24.com: Do you have a message for your fans?

Maxine McCarthy: Watch this space. I’ve had a long time out of the ring and I’ve improved as a fighter. I’ve improved on my technical side and am more consistent. Looking to get a fight date and can’t wait to get back in the ring.

Ringnews24.com: Thanks for talking to us Maxine.

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