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McCarthy aiming to stake his claim for British title

By David Kelly

Tommy McCarthy is ready to grab a golden opportunity to show the Northern Ireland boxing fraternity that he is the real deal when he headlines the first boxing event at the annual west Belfast festival on August 1.

Unbeaten McCarthy will have an eight rounder in the main event with former British and Commonwealth title challenger Courtney Fry expected to be rubber stamped very shortly as his toughest test by some distance in only his sixth fight.

The 24-year-old is eager to make a rapid rise up the British rankings as well as building a strong Belfast base and the former world class amateur believes the marquee at Falls Park is the ideal stage for his latest fight.

"I'm from around this area so it's great to be topping the bill at Falls Park and to have my mates on the bill as well, the guys I grew up with throughout the amateurs like Tyrone McKenna and Paddy Gallagher is brilliant," said McCarthy.

"It's a really big chance for me to shine, to show the Belfast fans what I can do and I have to really grab it. I believe that I can be fighting for a British title very soon, I just need a couple more wins.

"Hopefully Courtney Fry will be confirmed very soon as the opponent because he's the kind of guy I need now. He's more experienced than me, he's fought at British and Commonwealth title level so it would be a real test. I've been knocking people out and I suppose the fans expect that but Fry would not be easy."

McCarthy's backroom team of Pat Magee, John Rooney and former world champion Brian Magee announced the show at the Kennedy Centre yesterday with tickets well priced at £20 and £30.

Manager Magee has no doubt that McCarthy is on his way to the top and quite openly made it clear that the goal is to attract Sky television back to Belfast.

"I believe that Tommy is the next big headline event out of Belfast. This is a great platform to really launch him and we are very pleased that the festival have agreed to the show. I think it's going to be a great night's boxing with some of our best prospects on the card and we are hoping for around 1,500 to 2,000 at the show," said Magee.

"If we can get that, then we have a really good base with which to take Tommy forward. Our biggest problem has been trying to get him opponents because a lot of the top guys don't want to face him.

"Tommy's a guy that we want to move on quickly, he doesn't need 15 or 16 fights against ordinary opposition and if he does a good job on Fry then I would want a British title eliminator next, that's how confident we are in Tommy.

"At the minute he is well known among the boxing fraternity but we want to widen that and this is a great stage for him.

"A win here and then a British title eliminator would be ideal because then you are looking at a possible British title fight and when that happens Sky and Eddie Hearn at Matchroom or Frank Warren and BoxNation start to get interested."

As well as Tyrone McKenna and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Paddy Gallagher, the bill will also feature Annalong featherweight Paul Quinn and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Joe Fitzpatrick.

Belfast Telegraph

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