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EBU Champ Tommy McCarthy to make May voluntary defence after mandatory is sent to jail

Tommy McCarthy [17(8)-2(1)] has been freed to make a voluntary defence of his European title after the fighter initially named as his mandatory ran into some personal problems.

Having defeated Bilal Laggoune to become the 15th Irish fighter to buckle the EBU European title around his waist, McCarthy was ordered to defend against former WBC and IBF world champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyk.

Talks were underway with the Pole’s team and a deal all but signed, only for Wlodarczyk to end up in jail for breach of a driving ban.

With the mandatory challenger otherwise engaged the EBU have allowed the popular Belfast big man to make a voluntary defence, meaning his progress won’t be arrested as a result.

Irish-boxing.com understands ‘The Mack Attack’ will now make the first defence of his title against Alexandru Jur [19(7)-4(2)] in London in May, with May 1 and May 15 both possibilities.

The Romanian, who fights out of Belgium, is a respected operator on the continent and a fighter deemed capable of big performances.

The 35-year-old won the Belgian title before winning the Francophone strap in Congo and continued to progress up the ladder.

He defeated two time EU champion Juho Haapoja, the Fin known to Irish fight fans for his war with Ian Tims, to claim the secondary European title.

However, despite seemingly paying his dues he never got the chance to fight for the EBU blue strap, until now that is.

Wlodarczyk misfortune or misbehavior is Jur’s opportunity and he gets his chance against McCarthy in London come May.

The Mark Dunlop managed fighter will go in as favourite but will have to pass another Continential test – and faces the kind of fight many felt he should take before exploring world options.

McCarthy has called for a world title shot and wants straight in against some of the champions but with talks of bringing boxing back to Belfast alongside James Tennyson, Wlodarczyk may still be part of the Belfast fighter’s future.

Matchroom may not be able to tempt a world champion to Belfast as early as this year meaning McCarthy may have to stay on the EBU course until 2021.

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com