BOXING: ‘MIGHTY’ Matt McCarthy is ready to make one of boxing huge steps – moving up to 10 round bouts.

The fighter – who trains at Corringham’s Spartans Gym – has even vacated his British International Masters welterweight title to clear the decks for action.

McCarthy said: “Vacating my title is a conscious thing for me to signal that I’m ready to move on.

“I’m fighting in Grays in a month’s time and after that I’m making the change.

“Moving on to 10-round bouts means I must focus on this and I’m undefeated in the British International Masters – so I think of the belt as mine now.

“I was approached from up north this week by somebody who wanted to take me on, but if I’m to improve I’ve got to concentrate on the longer bouts,” he added.

McCarthy’s spring has been a complicated one with his last opponent, former IBF world title contender and three times WBO European champion Giuseppe Lauri unable to make their bout at the end of last month.

With less than a week to go the European 36-year-old was told by boxing’s authorities that he was not licensed to box in the UK.

McCarthy admitted being angry and disappointed that the pull-out had been left so late.

But he agreed to take on a replacement and beat him in six rounds – never dropping a round at York Hall.

McCarthy said: “That fight was good. It was over six rounds but at the end I felt that I could have lasted for 12 rounds so it’s time to step up.”

Now the emphasis has shifted to improving McCarthy’s endurance still further and he’ll be sparring against Essex stars including Brentwood-based Southern Area contender Chris Agabua.

McCarthy said: “I’m fighting in Grays next month at the Civic Hall and, although I’m not sure who I’ll be up against, it’ll be a chance for locals to see me. There’s no excuse for coming to this one, people can even walk there!”

McCarthy said that he was looking forward to making the huge jump to 10-round bouts and said that his boxing career was really a family affair.

“There’s a lot more to fighting than getting in the ring and I’m grateful to members of my family for helping me with my nutrition and training.”

Girlfriend Amy Levick ensures that he’s eating right in the run up to bouts – no bread or pasta, or carbohydrates after 5pm – while dad Terry McCarthy is frequently out with his son making sure he puts in the necessary roadwork.

McCarthy said: “I’m already working on my endurance and will be training twice a day with just Saturdays off. I’m going to be sparring over 10 to 12 rounds.

“Part of the reason for vacating the title is it becomes harder and harder to find people who are willing to fight you.

“I don’t want to stay where I am in boxing, I want to move up and this is the way to get there.” There are 200 tickets available for McCarthy’s next fight priced at £35 and £50 (ringside) and these can be had by calling 07402 743731.