Brandon McCarthy believes he is up there with the best the world has to offer and goes into the World Championships confident as a result.
The underage graduate will compete internationally at senior level for the first time in Belgrade later this month.
It represents a massive step up, even for a fighter who has never been beaten in a National Championships fight and boasts vast underage international experience.
However, it’s a step the Kilkenny talent feels he is ready for and after competing well against some top talent in a Sheffield sparring camp he travels to the Worlds confident
“I was delighted to be selected. I felt I earned my spot on the team after a great Elite Championships and great week sparring in Sheffield, the hard work paid off,” McCarthy told Irish-boxing.com before revealing sparring in England has him in an upbeat mood.
“The sparring in Sheffield was top quality, I was sparring with the French, Scottish and English champions over there, it was good to see what level I’m at, especially since it’s been nearly two years since I last competed internationally, but I’m well up there with the best.”
McCarthy has been to six underage European Championships and a World Youth Championships, winning European Youth silver in 2015 along the way.
Thanks to those experiences the 20-year-old is internationally aware, something he feels will benefit throughout the prestigious tournament.
“I’ve been to six European Championships and a World Youth Championships for Ireland in my underage career and the experience I’ve gained at those definitely made the progression into the senior ranks a lot easier. It will also benefit me at these World Championships, knowing different styles of countries and knowing the atmosphere and pressure a big tournament brings.”
The World Championships will be a massive leap from underage international tournaments, McCarthy is aware of that but the fighter who has never lost a National Championships fight is still determined to make an impact.
“I expect it to be a big step up,” he predicts of the Championships. “I feel I’ve also stepped up from underage and developed into a senior boxer. I think this year I will breakthrough on to the international stage finally after trying so many times underage.”
In terms of targets, McCarthy isn’t going to sell himself short. The St Michael’s Athy wants gold. In saying that the 20-year-old is aware it’s a hard path to the podium and will focus on the task at hand in each round.
“I think everyone is hoping to achieve and win a gold medal and that’s myself included but if I focus on my performances through the championships. I’ll get into the medal stages and then also get onto some funding, which would be a big boost for me leading to Paris 2024,” he adds before discussing his 2024 Olympics goals.
“This is definitely the first big step towards Paris, getting to fight the best out there, keeping an eye on future opponents and getting the experience and performances in. It’s all just stepping stones towards Olympics, just these Championships are a big stepping stone “