The Mac Attack has not fought since his British title final eliminator loss to Matty Askin last November, enduring a frustrating eleven months on the sideline despite being in fighting shape.
McCarthy saw proposed big fights with Craig Kennedy and Mike Perez fall through throughout the year and has undergone changes to his team in a 2017 which has been busier outside the ring than it has been inside it.
Now managed by Mack The Knife Global and trained by Ensley Bingham in Manchester, McCarthy is just relieved to be back fighting and eager to move straight back into title contention.
27 next month, McCarthy told Irish Boxing.com that “I’m just delighted to finally have everything in place and get back fighting in Belfast, I can’t wait.”
“It’s brilliant. You don’t realise how fast a year goes. ”
“You can do all the sparring in the gym you want – but being in the ring competitively is completely different. I just want the feeling of being under the lights, small gloves, no headguard, and all that.”
On Saturday he faces Hungarian Peter Hegyes [8(4)-16(8)] in a reintroductionary six-rounder, but McCarthy doesn’t want to hang around at this level.
The Commonwealth Games silver medalist outlined how “this fight is really just to get me back on the scene. I want to get back into championship level straight away,”
“I’m good enough. I believe I’m above all the fellas at home. I want to be back up to championship level and ten and twelve rounds.”
“We’ve had a great camp, great sparring. i’ve been sparring with Jack Massey and a few rounds with Ryan Sheedy. Everything’s great. Although it’s only a six-rounder, I feel ready for a ten or twelve rounder.”
The past year has been frustrating for McCarthy who reflected on how “there’s no reason why I haven’t fought, I’ve had no injury, I’ve been fit and ready to go for the last eleven months.
“I’m in great shape. I’ve been training for a fight for every month for the last eleven months, it was just about getting a fight nailed down and MTK delivered.”
“What’s good with MTK is the guarantees. They let you know. When Matt [Macklin] reached out to me to come on board, within a week they had me on this show and they say I’m going to be out again before the end of the year – I’d love to be on the Frampton show a few weeks after this.”
The Belfast big man has kept a keen eye on the domestic scene during his time out. He has seen Askin claim the British title with a knockout of Kennedy and has stated his desire for a rematch.
However it is not just Askin he is asking for.
In the past two weeks there have been wins for two opponents that have previously had proposed fights with McCarthy fall through.
First Stephen Simmons – who vacated his BBBoC Celtic title after being ordered to face McCarthy – claimed the IBF East/West Europe rankings belt with a points win over Simon Barclay.
Then Irish champion Luke Watkins added the Commonwealth title to his collection with a stoppage of Robin Dupre.
McCarthy is hungry for a first professional belt and admitted that “they’re two fights I want early next year – Watkins with the Commonwealth title and Simmons with that IBF European – they’re definitely good targets and fights that I believe I could win.
“Hopefully I’ll be out again shortly.”