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Birthday Boy Tommy McCarthy plans to gift himself European title

Tommy McCarthy plans to give himself a ‘massive’ birthday present on Saturday night.

The Belfast cruiserweight turns 33 this weekend and believes he will celebrate by unwrapping the EBU European title in Poland.

The ‘Mack Attack’ challenges Michal Cieslak for a title that previously decorated his waistline in Zakopane. The birthday boy knows the experienced Pole won’t gift him the strap but he is confident he can produce a performance that will see him become a two-time European Champion.

“I’m looking forward to getting over and getting the show on the road. It’s my birthday on Saturday as well so I’m looking forward to getting myself a present,” he told the Irish News.

McCarthy became Ireland’s 15th and first black European Champion when he defeated Bilal Laggoune in in November 2022. The former Oliver Plunkets amateur has since lost the title to now-world champion Chris Billiam Smith but plans to win it back on Saturday.

If he manages to do so he will become only the second Irish fighter, after Matthew Macklin, to become a two-time continental champ.

“Winning will be massive for me,” he comments.

“It’s very difficult to win the European title once – even getting in a position to challenge for it is hard – so to win it twice will be great for me and great for Irish boxing as well. I think it will be my biggest win so it’s all to play for.”

McCarthy, who had signed a contract to fight US-based Armenian-born Frenchman Arsen Goulamirian for the WBA champion only for the fight to fall through due to TV rights issues, admits two-time world title challenger Cieslak is among the toughest he’ll share a ring with.

However, the former amateur of note points out he too is an experienced fighter and claims the champion won’t bring anything he hasn’t seen before to Saturday’s title fight.

“Make no mistake, Cieslak is a world-class boxer, a world-class cruiserweight so I’m under no illusions about the challenge that’s in front of me. But I’m quietly confident. I’ve watched him and I don’t see anything that he does that makes me go: ‘Right I have to watch out for that’.

“Everything that he does I’ve seen before and I’m well experienced now so there’s nothing new that I’ve had to get ready for in terms of what he does. Obviously he’s the home fighter and he’s a strong guy but there are no easy fights at championship level so I’m prepared for whatever he brings.”

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