Paddy Barnes topped his first pro bill tonight in Belfast and had what could be described as his real introduction to the paid ranks.
Following two wins against journeymen, Barnes took a massive step up in rounds and opposition to take on former world title challenger and two-time European champion Silvio Olteanu for the WBO European belt.
Here at the Waterfront Hall. atop the BoxNation ‘Battle of Belfast’ card, Barnes slugged his way to a majority decision win.
Barnes eased his way through the opening round off the jab. ‘The Leprechaun’ would continue to use his boxing skills in a quiet second, before he was momentarily stumbled in the closing seconds.
The fight opened up massively then in the third, with the pair trading shots – Barnes with the greater number, but Olteanu still proving a big threat and perhaps landing with the more thudding thumps. The fire fight continued in the fourth, before Barnes began to counterpunch.
The two fighters kept up the high pace in the fifth round, and Barnes managed to stagger his Spanish-based opponent with a sharp flurry.
Barnes started the sixth very impressively, more so than in the entirety of his pro career thus far, landing a number of eye-catching combinations. Olteanu came back exceedingly strong though with some big shots, before the home fighter landed a peach of a left hook on the bell
There was more good action in the seventh, a round which Barnes had previously never encountered, and the Cliftonville man seemed to hurt his opponent for the first time – although Olteanu again came back strongly.
The eighth followed a similar pattern with Barnes again momentarily staggering the Romanian who fired back with big bodyshots of his own as he pinned the Belfast man to the ropes.
Olteanu began to bull forward in the penultimate stanza as Barnes looked to be tiring – although a rousing finish from the Belfast boxer may have snuck him the round.
Barnes threatened a finish at the start of the tenth and final round as he sent Oltenau reeling to the ropes – and then twice again in the home stretch, but the brave Romanian continued to fight back and deservedly saw out the fight.
Going to the cards, Barnes was handed the win, with tallies of 97:94, 97:93 in his favour, with one judge scoring the bout 95:95.
The unanimous decision see him now move to 3(0)-0, while the brilliantly game Silvio Olteanu drops to 16(7)-12(2)-1
The Irishman is now expected to enter the Top 15 rankings of the WBO when they are next updated as he steps up his chase of champion and twice conqueror Zou Shiming
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)