Improving Tommy McCarthy gets ready to step up the pace

Paul Quinn, Patrick Gallagher, Tommy McCarthy, Joe Fitzpatrick and Tyrone McKenna at Friday's press conference
Paul Quinn, Patrick Gallagher, Tommy McCarthy, Joe Fitzpatrick and Tyrone McKenna at Friday's press conference

Tommy McCarthy will headline a huge show in Belfast on August 1.

The Belfast fighter will tackle the biggest test of his professional career when he takes on the experienced Courtney Fry in a massive marquee at the Feile Festival in Falls Park.

McCarthy excelled as an amateur and he thinks the time is right to take the next step on his career after five fights as a professional

“Everyone knows what Fry brings to the table. He has fought for the British title and he has fought Roy Jones Jnr,” he said.

“This will be a tough fight against a tough fighter but I am ready for the step up and I don’t want to go 20 and 0 and have fought no-one.

“I believe I am close to a shot at the Commonwealth and British titles but I have to take care of Fry first.”

And McCarthy says he cannot wait to fight so close to home.

“It is great the fight is local. A local is headlining and the show is packed with local fighters,” he added.

“The venue holds 1,500 to 2,000 people, so let us hope the place is packed out.”

Also on the bill will be Joe Fitzpatrick, Paddy Gallagher, Tyrone McKenna, Paul Quinn, Alfredo Meli and Phil Sutcliffe Jnr.

Meanwhile, Belfast lightweight Sean McComb picked up a bronze medal at the European Games in Baku after losing to Albert Selimov of Azerbaijan in his semi-final on Friday.

The impressive and vastly experienced number one seed Selimov won on a unanimous decision over the 22-year-old Holy Trinity southpaw in the 60kg bout.

The judges gave Selimov the fight on a scoreline of 29-28, 30-27 and 29-28.

McComb boxed well but Selimov is a special talent.

Meanwhile, Katie Taylor revealed how her fear of losing spurred her to pull out a big last round and book her place in Saturday’s women’s lightweight final in Baku.

Taylor’s four-year winning streak looked in grave danger of coming to an end as she trailed going into the last round against Azerbaijan’s World Championship silver medallist Yana Alekseevna.

But Taylor defied a braying home crowd and did enough to earn a wafer-thin split decision win which takes her into a gold medal clash against Estelle Mossely of France.

Taylor said: “I know how it feels to lose. I think it’s important to feel those losses because I never want to feel like that again.

“I knew I was down after the third round so I had to go out and put the pressure on her and try to win it clearly. The last round was all about heart and thank God I pulled through.”

Taylor had dropped the first round on two of the three judges’ cards but levelled it after an exciting second in which her cleaner, more aggressive work paid off.

In an exciting third, Taylor’s greater aggression was not rewarded as once again the sharp work of Alekseeva edged her ahead on the cards, paving the way for Taylor’s fine last round.

Taylor admitted she endured some anxious moments in the aftermath as the Azerbaijani coaches celebrated as if they fully expected the verdict to go their way.

Taylor added: “It was always going to be a close fight because she’s a top boxer but I felt I won a lot of those rounds quite clearly.

“I always go into a fighting thinking the decision is going to be fair and I relish these fights where the atmosphere is so fantastic.”

There was more good news for Ireland as Michael O’Reilly advanced to the men’s middleweight final when his scheduled Russian opponent Maxim Koptyakov was forced to withdraw from the competition with an eye injury.