It’s official – Tommy McCarthy [17(8)-2(1)] will make the first defence of his European cruiserweight title against Alexandru Jur [19(7)-4(2)] in Manchester on May 15.
Irish-boxing.com revealed the fight had been agreed for May last month and the EBU revealed it would take place on May 15 last week. However, the bout was officially confirmed by Matchroom today.
‘The Mac Attack’s clash will be one of three European title fights on a bumper card and takes place a day after his MHD stablemate, Eric Donovan challenges for the EU super featherweight strap in Italy.
Topping the DAZN and Sky Sports broadcast bout will be topped by a WBC and WBA super featherweight unification clash between Terri Harper and Hyun-Mi Choi.
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 Jur will provide the opposition.
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.
The Mark Dunlop managed, McCarthy fighter will go in as favourite but will have to pass another Continential test in the kind of fight many felt he should take before exploring world options.
The news means there will be Irish interest in back-to-back Matchroom Sky Sports cards with Katie Taylor and James Tennyson scheduled to fight on May 1.
“This is a cracking card and most likely our last in the U.K. behind closed doors,” said Eddie Hearn.
“As Terri Harper continues her quest for Undisputed, she takes on the unbeaten champ Hyun-Mi Choi in a brilliant unification match-up. Joshua Buatsi returns to action under new trainer Virgil Hunter and we have three European Title match ups with champions Tommy MCarthy and Gamal Yafai defending and Leronne Richards going for the Super-Middleweight Title. Electric prospect Dalton Smith also steps-up in a great fight vs. Lee Appleyard for the vacant English Title as he continues his charge.”