The Belfast flyweight will not be the IBF champion’s next defence but his team have revealed that they wouldn’t mind trading leather with Barnes [5(1)-1(1)] afterwards.
The Cliftonville fighter, who suffered world title defeat in just his sixth pro outing when losing to Cristofer Rosales for the WBC belt in Windsor Park last year, revealed he remains keen to buckle a world strap around his waist before his tenth pro fight.
Indeed, before he saw a fight fall through on the Warrington-Frampton undercard last month, the 31-year-old called out South African Mthalane.[37(25)-2(2)] a second time.
The double Olympic bronze medallist had called for a fight with the African veteran, 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 Pakistan’s Muhammad Waseem to win the red world title – defending against Mashahiro Sakamoto last month – and Barnes is still keen on challenging the former Nonito Donaire opponent and Zolani Tete defeater.
Barnes outlined how “I’m going to be pushing for a shot at the IBF world champion, Moruti Mthalane. He’s at the head of my list at the moment.”
“Mthalane is 36 so he’s the only world champion who’s older than me and I think I could take him,” he added before stressing he was happy to be back in camp.
After his world title victory, Mthalane has talked about a unification clash and has been linked to Matchroom’s latest world champ and enemy of Barnes, Charlie Edwards, following the Englishman’s title in over Rosales.
However, when speaking to Irish-Boxing.com, Mthalane’s manager and traine Colin Nathan revealed a defence with ‘The Leprechaun’ could happen in 2019.
The bout won’t happen early this year as the IBF, a governing body who enforce mandatory defenses stringently, have ruled Mthalane will first have to put his title on the line against the #1 contender.
“Paddy is a very good fighter and I have seen him fight, but as of now we have an IBF mandatory,” Nathan told Irish-Boxing.com.
“I think it would be a great contest. Possibly it could happen later this year.”
Mthalane’s mandatory is Japanese fighter Masayuki Kuroda [30(16)-7(1)-3].
Barnes’s next move is unsure. When he eventually returns to the ring the North Belfast fighter may look to skip ahead or Barnes may want to have a fight akin to the bout he was scheduled to have on the Warrington-Frampton bill – Ghanaian journeyman Isaac Quaye [31(22)-18(5)-1].
Barnes is currently unranked by the IBF and fighting for one of the organisation’s rankings belts and/or one of their Top 15 would seem wise – perhaps Commonwealth champion and IBF #15 Jay Harris to start off.