An experienced campaigner having represented Ireland at five European Championships, the Kilkenny bantamweight will fight at the World Youth Championships in three weeks time in Budapest
However, with qualification now controversially a factor, McCarthy’s passage into the competition was a dramatic one.
Following two wins at the European Youths in April, the 17-year-old was controversially denied a medal by Albanian Muhamet Qamili on an extremely harsh 3-2 split-decision and was forced to wait until the very end of the tournament to see what way the qualification slots would fall.
McCarthy eventually got the nod and, on reflection, sees his Euro heartbreak as the perfect motivator.
“It was a rollercoaster,” he admits to Irish-Boxing.com.
“I got two good wins over there and then I was unlucky to not get the medal but I’ll meet him now again in the Worlds.”
“That has built me up, if I had won that I probably wouldn’t have trained as hard as I have. It’s pushed me to go back and beat him in the Worlds.”
“Hopefully I’ll go all the way.”
The European Schoolboys silver medalist has been training like a demon since April and, on Friday, defeated Killian Geraghty at the National Stadium to win the Irish U18 title and will now embark on a few weeks of training with the Irish Senior team ahead of the World Youth Championships in Budapest next month.
McCarthy beat Geraghty in a fiery and competitive encounter that featured plenty of posturing, with the stylish McCarthy eventually getting the nod over his tenacious Crumlin rival.
“It was a tough fight and it was good preparation for the Worlds,” he said immediately afterwards.
“Last time I boxed him there was a bit of mouthing and comments, stuff on Facebook and all that, so I gave him a boxing lesson in there today.”
“I’d boxed him twice this year already, in the Under-18s Open and the Junior 2s, he’s still there – he must think he can beat me, ah sure, let them on.”
McCarthy viewed the entry in the Irish U18s – which six of Ireland’s team for the Worlds elected against – as the perfect preparation for Hungary alongside a trip to Cuba earlier in the Summer for a two-week camp.
With three wins and plenty of elite sparring in the bag, he noted how “it was important to get the ringtime, it’s better than sparring because you’ve a lot to lose in there.”
“[Cuba] was brilliant, so it was. The sparring was brilliant, I sparred their 60kg who is going to the World Championships. That was brilliant sparring and we were sparring every day. The heat, everything, training three times a day, you couldn’t ask for better.
“It was great preparation to have me at my best for the Worlds.”
Now it is on to the High Performance Unit in Abbottstown as preparations move up another level again.
Having previously sparred the Elite champions from the weights below him, McCarthy is excited to test himself against ‘the man’ at the weight in this country.
The confident teen described how “I’ll be out there this Tuesday [today] for three weeks with the seniors. It will be a brilliant experience to be in the best.”
“I’ll be sparring with Kurt Walker. I’ve sparred Conor Quinn and Conor Jordan, I’ve never sparred Kurt but I should be this week.”
Photo Credit: National Stadium Boxing Videos