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Olympic medalist calls out Paddy Barnes

Since he started his pro career, Paddy Barnes [5(1)-0] has usually been the man calling other fighters out.

Edgar Sosa, Muhammad Waseem, Moruti Mthalane, Zou Shiming, and most recently WBO champion Sho Kimura have all been mentioned.

However, with his growing stature in the pros, another potential rival has called out the Belfast flyweight.

English boxer Sunny Edwards had earlier this year called for a bout with Barnes but this was dismissed by the world title chasing 31-year-old.

Now Olympic bronze medalist Nico Hernandez [5(4)-0] has put his name forward to face the Irish star

American Hernandez said that “there’s a bronze medalist from Ireland, Paddy Barnes, and that’s who I’d really love to fight.”

Promoter Jon Anderson added that “I think that’s a fight we should start a conversation about.”

“It’s not like Barnes is 21 and I don’t know of a lot of 30 or older flyweights. It makes a lot of sense and can be a big fight.”

“They’re both Olympic bronze medalists, already fought in scheduled 10 and 12 round fights, and have belts.”

“Nico needs to step up in terms of competition, too. I think they should get in the ring and then we can see what happens.”

“If they don’t want to make this fight right away, maybe we can build it up by putting them on the same card, and then fight next year. This fight makes a lot of sense for both fighters and Nico has already said he wants to fight Barnes.”

Hernandez and his team were speaking in the aftermath of his first round knockout win over Hungarian journeyman Szilveszter Kanalas on Saturday night- This victory saw him pick up the lightly-regarded IBA title and he has now set his sights on Barnes.

Irish fans may remember Hernandez as the opening round opponent for Brendan Irvine at the 2015 World Championships in Doha – a fight which the ‘Wee Rooster’ won on a unanimous decision.

The Kansas fighter turned pro in the aftermath of his bronze medal at the Rio Games and, despite talk of a Top Rank deal, has fought locally in the Wichita area, racking up a 5-0 record.

Following some early dalliances with journeymen, double Olympic bronze medalist Barnes has kicked on massively in his pro career over the past 12 months.

A win over former World title challenger Silvio Olteanu saw him claim the WBO European rankings title and he followed this up with a dominant win over European title challenger Juan Hinostroza and then a stunning stoppage of Chocolatito Gonzalez sparring partner Elicier Quezada to claim the WBO Inter-Continental title.

Barnes now finds himself ranked sixth by the WBO and the Cliftonville man has called for a shot at champion Sho Kimura [16(9)-1(1)-2] of Japan.

The amateur legend is currently in camp in Marbella having spent a number of weeks in Scotland. Barnes was expected to feature on the Mick Conlan homecoming card on June 30th but, with that date just over five weeks away, it is now assumed that he will feature on Carl Frampton’s Windsor Park fight night on August 18th.

Kimura, no doubt, remains the main aim – however, 22-year-old Hernandez could provide an alternative should a title bout be unable to be made.


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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie