BOXING: TILBURY pro Matt McCarthy is preparing for the biggest night of his professional career.

McCarthy – who trains under Mark Bates at Corringham’s Spartans Gym – turned pro in 2012. The former Chadwell ABC amateur will fight former IBF world title contender and three times WBO European champion Giuseppe Lauri atYork Hall on April 27.

And 36-year-old Lauri will be Lauri’s biggest test yet. McCarthy said: “I feel I need to test myself against real class opposition now. I’ve had a number of fights against mediocre opposition but it’s time to step up. Giueseppe’s won 53 fights, drawn 33 and only lost 12 so he’s a very talented fighter. “Older fighters are dangerous guys. They are just as strong and hit just as hard, but they can lose a bit of their speed so I’ve already been working on ways of taking him on.”

Gym work has included sparring sessions against Mark Rice, Stanford’s “John” Wayne Hibbert and Brentwood’s Southern Area contender Chris Agabua. And McCarthy knows that the six, three minute rounds will test him – although he hopes to take a big following of supporters, family and friends to York Hall.

“I’ve been working on planting more punches, getting my shots more accurate and through a guard, and also keeping my hands up more.

“As a pro it’s easy to get a little sloppy against some opposition and not keep your guard up enough. But I’ve got to watch this against Lauri because he’s got the technique and the power to hit hard. “He’s knocked out 33 fighters, so he’s still a real force. I think that I am one of the fastest welterweights around and I can switch from orthodox to southpaw. I like to have a look at my rival and if he’s uncomfortable against a southpaw I’ll switch. “I can hit as fast and as hard with both hands.”

But despite McCarthy’s confidence, Mark Bates has been puting his protege through plenty of drills to get him even sharper in time for the bout.

The neat, aggressive and hard-hitting McCarthy knows that defeating Lauri would catapult him up the standings and nearer his ambition of making it as a true European class fighter.

TILBURY boxer Tey Lynn-Jones fights in the Eastern Counties middleweight final on Friday after winning in his semi final against Suffolk champion, Gary Grimwood of Patrick’s Gym, Ipswich. Lynn Jones’s final will be at the Paddocks on Canvey Island on April 11.