Rumours were rife that ‘The Leprechaun’ would challenge WBO flyweight champion Sho Kimura in just his sixth fight on Michael Conlan’s Homecoming card at the SSE Odyssey Arena on June 30th.
Indeed the talk was a clash with the Japanese fighter who defeated Barnes’s Olympic rival Zou Shiming to earn champion status would be confirmed at a press conference in Belfast on Wednesday.
However, despite otherwise advertised, Barnes wasn’t confirmed on what looks a sensational undercard and there certainly wasn’t conformation of a world title fight.
Jamie Conlan would suggest that Barnes will find himself on the bill and the WBO European, Inter-Continental, and #6-ranked fighter himself hinted that he may appear on both BT Sport Belfast Summer cards and could have a massive fight on both or either of Conlan’s Homecoming or Carl Frampton’s August Windsor Park fight night.
“I am still training away and waiting to see what happens,” he told Belfast Live.
“There are a few things going on behind the scenes and I am training as if I will be fighting on this card on June 30th.”
“There are big things in the works, but time will tell what happens. There is talk of Kimura. That would be nice.”
“But there are a few options there and I am waiting for my team to pull something out of the bag.”
“There is Mick’s bill next month and then the Frampton one in August, and I am hopeful of being on both of them.”
Barnes, who has been making frequent trips to Scotland for mini camps, claims he has been training as if he was out soon.
The Cliftonville man outlined how “I have been training away since January, and people are saying ‘you’re mad’ because I am constantly working. But I am not killing myself and doing anything stupid.”
“When I get a fight date then I will step things up. I am working and learning things.”
The 31-year-old has his sights set on the two Belfast Summer showdowns but suggests he could fight abroad if needs be.
So far he has fought abroad just once, dropping and decisioning recent European title challenger Juan Hinostroza in Edinburgh.
Barnes stated that “I want to fight on June 30th, but there are other shows coming up – one here and three in England,” he added.
“There is the Tyson Fury bill, and Billy Joe Saunders v Martin Murray. So we will see what happens.
“I feel I am getting close to a world title fight. I am sixth in the world now so realistically it could happen.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)