New style, new club, new weight, and the 19-year-old Cork boxer feels ready to make a big breakthrough next weekend.
McCarthy finished runner-up at flyweight to Rio Olympian Brendan Irvine at last year’s National Elite Seniors and, following some time out in which he rejected a move to the pros, the Mayfield youngster returned at bantamweight at the weekend and scored an entertaining win over Christian Cekiso to make a second successive final.
The Rebel fighter mixed it up with his Portlaoise opponent, finishing the semi-final with an extended toe-to-toe exchange and claiming a 3-2 split-decision win.
“It was a close fight, I can’t take anything away from the lad I boxed, it was a brilliant scrap,” McCarthy told Irish-Boxing.com afterwards.
“The first two rounds I was boxing well, the last round I needed to pick it up and I came on in the last half””
“I’m just one step closer now to an Elite title, I’ve worked very hard for it.”
The Leesider cuts a determined figure having been defeated at the final stage in 2017.
McCarthy outlined how “I trained very hard for this after getting beat in last year’s final by Brendan Irvine, I don’t want that to happen again.”
“Since last year I’ve so much more experience. Last year I was only 18 entering and you could say I was raw going into such a big competition. Now I can take the shots more, I’m after developing over the last year, it’s brilliant.”
There have been changes for McCarthy, linking up with Setanta BC, moving up to bantamweight, and switching from a rangey counter-puncher to a more aggressive fighter,
He described how “I’ve moved to a new club, John Morrissey, Lee Morrissey, and Patrick McGrath are all after putting serious work into me. I’m all over the country sparring
“I feel a lot better. Making weight at 52kg, I didn’t feel well. I’m not losing weight, I’m at my right weight, I’m eating three times a day.
“I’m after getting aggressive. Boxing now, it’s about being the aggressive fighter and that’s the way it has to be done to convince all the judges.”
Next Saturday [February 24th] on finals night McCarthy will face Dubliner Evan Metcalfe in a battle to take over from the Commonwealth Games-bound Kurt Walker.
Metcalfe, from Crumlin but boxing out of the Hyland Boxing Academy in Tallaght, scored a win over Myles Casey in the corresponding semi-final just minutes before McCarthy took to the ring himself.
The Cork teen is full of belief going into the decider and stated that “I’m not going to let anyone take it away from me.”
“He’s around a while, he’s well experienced, but no-one is taking this away from me.”