Tommy McCarthy is getting back to his best with title shot in sight
Belfast fighter Tommy McCarthy says he is back on the path to a British title shot after a successful return to the ring on Saturday night.
Cruiserweight McCarthy's career suffered a big blow in March when he lost to Richard Riakporhe, a fight that clearly came too soon off the back of a period of inactivity only punctuated by a couple of routine victories.
Prior to that McCarthy had enjoyed top level sparring but he admits that inadvertently had a detrimental effect when he returned to action.
But after two months of soul searching a third round stoppage of journeyman Jiri Svacina in the Europa Hotel has filled him with new optimism.
"I felt on Saturday night that I was letting everything flow a lot more, not over-thinking and I got the guy out of there in three rounds. He had taken me eight rounds in the Ulster Hall in February so it was good to do the job the way it should have been done the first time around," said McCarthy.
"I felt a lot more comfortable in there, more like my old self. I have worked a bit with a sports psychologist and he just reminded me of a few things and it helped a lot.
"I had sparred a lot with world class fighters and while it was good, it kind of got me into the mentality of a sparring partner so when it came to fight night it was all so different and I didn't react in a good way. There's such a difference between the closed off gym and the atmosphere of fight night and it's just taken a bit of time for me to get used to that again.
"Now I'm feeling good and confident that I can patiently move back into title contention. I have that assurance back that you need in the ring."
McCarthy, who works with local coach Tony Dunlop, did however admit that he had added a little pressure to Saturday night's fight with how he had trained.
"The last week of sparring was the best I've felt as a professional and Tony could see that so I actually said to him that if I didn't put in a big performance I was going to pack it in," added McCarthy.
"The good thing is I did perform how I wanted and now I'm hoping that I'll get out again as soon as possible. If I'm active I know that I will continue to improve and when the next chance comes I'll be ready to take it."