A new year with new opportunities, two fighters made sure to mark out January 1st with calls for big fights as they look to return to winning ways.
Belfast flyweight Paddy Barnes re-stated his desire to take on IBF champion Moruti Mthalane while Dublin super featherweight Deco Geraghty wants to finally take on Marco McCullough in an all-Irish clash.
Geraghty [17(4)-3(2)] was due to take on McCullough [21(11)-4(3)] in the latter’s home city of Belfast back in October but pulled out early on in camp.
Shankill’s McCullough would instead win a dramatic fight versus Spanish veteran Ruddy Encarnacion, trading knockdowns and coming through some very hairy moments.
Geraghty, who has not fought since his rematch loss to Jono Carroll during the summer, called for the fight in the immediate aftermath and, since then, has also suggested clashes with another managerial stablemate, Archie Sharp, as well as Golden Boy prospect Ryan Garcia.
Yesterday, though, Geraghty made clear that McCullough is the man he wants most.
The start of 365 days and in one of them days l would like to get it on with @mccullough_marc think it’s something the irish fans would really enjoy… you fancy doing it soon Marc??
— Declan Geraghty (@Deco_Gero) January 1, 2019
A few hours previous there was another good-natured call-out from Barnes [5(1)-1(1)].
The Cliftonville little man has not fought since his WBC title loss to Cristofer Rosales in August having seen his swing bout on the Warrington-Frampton bill last month pulled on the night due to time-constraints.
While Barnes was warming up in Manchester for a fight which never came, managerial stablemate Charlie Edwards dethroned Rosales in London.
Considering the link, as well as the Irishman’s genuine hatred of his English counterpart, this match-up would seem to be the obvious path to peruse but Barnes is keen on South African Mthalane [37(25)-2(2)]..
Great fighter, only world champ that’s older than me love to share a ring with the legend….2019? https://t.co/OXvoge2RWc
— Paddy Barnes OLY (@paddyb_ireland) January 1, 2019
Barnes had previosly called for a fight with South African, via Irish-Boxing.com, well over a year ago back when Mthalane held the lightly-regarded IBO belt.
36-year-old Mthalane has since defeated Pakistani Muhammad Waseem to win the red world title which he defended on New Year’s Eve versus Masahiro Sakimoto – and Barnes is keen on challenging the former Nonito Donaire opponent and Zolani Tete defeater