Tommy McCarthy was unsuccessful in his bid to become only the third Irish man to become a two-time European champion.
‘The Mack Attack’ was beaten in Poland by the defending champion Michal Cieslak and won’t yet join Charlie Nash and Matthew Macklin on the list of two-time Irish continental kings.
The Belfast fighter looked competitive for the most part and the more naturally skilled of the two. However, he appeared to tire incrementally and was eventually stopped on his feet by the two-time world title challenger in round seven of the European title fight.
The win would appear to put more distance between the popular Belfast man and a world title shot, although it has to be noted history suggests McCarthy is a fighter that can secure big opportunities from left field.
Michał Cieślak (25-2, 19 KO) obronił pas mistrza Europy! 🔥— TVP SPORT (@sport_tvppl) November 4, 2023
W walce wieczoru na gali KnockOut Boxing Night 31, 34-latek pokonał przed czasem Tommy’ego McCarthy’ego (20-5, 10 KO) . pic.twitter.com/MRiYLaKzrx
McCarthy was able to read most of the home favourites attacks in the first round, taking anything big on the gloves. He let fly to the body when pressed and probably had the best moment in the stanza bringing a left hook from downstairs to up.
The Pole, who was covered in tattoo-styled advertisements, did look the aggressor and that could have been enough to steal the round in Poland.
McCarthy started to find a home for his jab early in the second and landed a one-two, but a cut opened over his eye after a clash of heads seemed to distract him somewhat and spurred on the two time world champion.
‘Your winning this fight’ screamed manager Mark Dunlop, the loudest man in the venue, by the end of the third. It came after McCarthy had landed big at the end of a session in which Cieslak upped the gears and attempted to test the Belfast man. There was a lot more from the Pole but McCarthy responded to most attacks and had moments of his own.
The former champion-turned-challenger went on the jab in the fourth and followed instructions to go to the body. However, Cieslak continued to come forward and had some success when he pushed ‘Mack Attack’ to the ropes.
Not much in it but that’s not always enough away from home.
Cieslak tried to show he had a jab of note early in the fifth and it allowed McCarthy to operate from the centre of the ring. Indeed, he managed to force the champion to retreat to the ropes at certain stages and his corner felt it was a sign the Pole was tiring. His hands were certainly low, suggesting the bodywork was having an effect.
The home favourites high work rate returned as the halfway mark approached with McCarthy looking more and more tired.
He looked the fresher at the start of the seventh and hurt McCarthy with a left hook. The Oliver Plunkett amateur retreated to try and find his feet but that only proved to invite the title holder on. A barrage came and McCarthy visited the canvas, he rose to his feet without any real problems but Cieslak went for the kill. The towel came in just as ‘Big Tommy’ began fighting back, although it looked right decision and one the fighter didn’t question.