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McCarthy is hungry for more as Fry devoured

By David Kelly

It wasn't a perfect performance and that's the way it should have been for Tommy McCarthy.

Unlike so many local fighters being fed a long diet of crusty, dried up journeymen from eastern Europe, McCarthy wants to sink his teeth into more meaty challenges.

And on Saturday night he came through the first when outpointing former British title challenger Courtney Fry at Falls Park over eight competitive rounds.

This was only McCarthy's sixth fight and he was a composition of bristling raw talent, over-eagerness and natural charisma as he dominated Fry, forcing him to touch down in the second and hit the canvas a little harder in the final round from his steely right hand.

After eight rounds referee Paul McCullagh handed him a 77-73 decision.

The crowd of around 1,500 in the marquee at the west Belfast festival left knowing they had seen a young fighter worth following.

And manager Pat Magee says it will not be long before the 24-year-old is on the cusp of a British title fight.

"We have established the level Tommy is, he has proved tonight that he is British title material. We are heading in the British title direction," said Magee.

"I know there were questions raised about this fight with Fry, that it might be a step too far for Tommy but we always felt that we had to let him show his ability.

"He showed he can punch but he also showed that he can take a punch because Fry hit a few good right hands but he's at that level now where we can move him on.

"He's a force to be feared by the cruiserweights in Britain." McCarthy's best work was in the fourth round when he loosened up and allowed his punches to flow with a rhythm that veteran Fry couldn't handle.

A stoppage in the fifth looked highly possible only for the Belfast man to become over-zealous in search of the ideal finish.

"I'm a bit disappointed because I wanted the stoppage," said McCarthy.

"My plan was to win my first 10 fights by stoppage but I'm delighted to get the win against a genuine opponent, that's my sixth fight and I had him on the deck twice.

"The only people who have stopped him have been world champions so to have him on the deck in only my sixth fight - I must be the real deal.

"Everyone has to go through their apprenticeship, opponents turning up to go the distance but Courtney Fry came here with his own title aspirations and I had him down twice," he added.

The main supporting bout was a relentless eight rounds of toe-to-toe action at middleweight, with Belfast's Alfredo Meli outpointing Scotland's Rhys Pagan, 80-73.

The scoring seemed harsh on Pagan, who on my card had won three rounds while the Scot was also rightly deducted a point by referee John Lowey for hitting behind the head.

Both Annalong's Paul Quinn and Ugandan Martin Mubiru had to be taken to hospital after their five-round brawl.

Quinn was knocked down twice in the third round before being stopped at 2:15 in the fifth round of their featherweight clash but it was Belfast-based Mubiru who was stretchered from the arena after feeling unwell in the dressing room but was later given the all clear

Joe Fitzpatrick stopped Zoltan Horvath in round four of their lightweight bout, Belfast welterweight Tyrone McKenna outpointed Kevin McCauley 60-54 and Paddy Gallagher defeated William Warburton 59-56, also at welter.

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