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Boxing: McCarthy ready for heavy duty Irish assault

Ulster boxers will weigh in today for the Irish Elite championships knowing places at the World Championships in the summer are on the line.

One man with that clearly in mind as well as qualifying for next year’s London Olympics is Tommy McCarthy who has moved up to heavyweight.

McCarthy lost in last year’s Irish light-heavyweight final to Olympic silver medallist Ken Egan before going on to win silver at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

The Belfast man will clearly be the main threat to defending champion Con Sheehan of Clonmel and his Oliver Plunkett coach Patsy McAllister has no doubt it is the right decision to step up in weight.

“Tommy has been finding it tough to make light-heavy so heavyweight should suit him. He’s a big guy,” says McAllister, who will also have newly crowned Ulster light-welterweight champion Tyrone McKenna bidding for glory.

McCarthy will be joined in the heavyweight draw by fellow Commonwealth silver medallist Steven Ward, while Games gold medallists Paddy Barnes and Paddy Gallagher are entered at 49kg and 69kg, respectively.

Favourite for the Irish 69kg title will be Donegal’s Willie McLaughlin who produced a sizzling display to defeat Gallagher in the recent Ulster decider.

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The 56kg division should prove to be one of the most intriguing as Ulstermen John Joe Nevin, Ryan Lindberg and Tyrone McCullagh will all be seeking the Irish crown.

Having just won his first Ulster title, James Fryers will bid to cause a huge shock at lightweight.

The preliminaries start tonight.

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