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Opponent Confirmed as Paddy Barnes begins move down in weight

Paddy Barnes [5(1)-2(1)] is planning to ‘clear’ his head before plotting a light flyweight world title assault.

The three-time Olympian and Irish boxing favourite fights for the first time since his somewhat surprise defeat to Oscar Mojica in New York on St Patrick’s Day. 

The 32-year-old is keen to put some daylight between himself and a defeat that has been hanging over him for a number of months now – and is delighted with the chance to do so on the Féile an Phobail card this Saturday. 

It has been confirmed this fight week that ‘The Leprechaun’ will take on Spain-based Nicaraguan Joel Sanchez [4(2)-6(0)-1] on the TV portion of the Top Rank card.

A game away fighter who has gone the distance with the likes of Harvey Horn and Reece McFadden, the six-rounder is an understated return for Barnes who is looking to take his time and build properly in the 108lbs division.

Most importantly, the Cliftonville man wants to start a fresh winning run at his optimum weight, outlining how “I can’t wait to just get another win on Saturday.”

“I’m going to clear my head, have my hand raised and be back to winning ways. Then it’s on towards titles at light-flyweight.”

The Beijing and London Olympic bronze medalist challenged unsuccessfully for the WBC flyweight world title in just his sixth fight and has made no secret of his plans to fight for world honours again.

However, Barnes is plotting a proper course for a light flyweight tilt – with this non-title contest set to take place just a few pounds north of the championships rather than up at bantamweight like his ill-fated clash with Mojica.

There have been some who question whether or not at 32 if the fighter can make 108lbs. It’s something the Danny Vaughan-trained fighter has researched and is adamant he will make it when the time is right.

“The plan is to get to light-flyweight. I’ll be flyweight [112lbs] for this one and then I’ll fight again later this year.”

“When a title shot arises at light-flyweight, I’ll make the weight. Until then, I’ll get as close as possible in the interim fights.

“I’ve been working hard training-wise and I’ve made some changes with my nutrition. I have a nutritionist I work with every day. I should have had one since the start of my career – it’s making a big difference,” he adds before stressing his excitement at fighting on an outdoor show he believes is unmissable.

“It’s great to be able to fight in front of the Belfast crowd. This event is absolutely massive and it’s going to be a truly great night for Irish sport.

“Someone asked me what time I’m on and what time they should arrive and I just told them to go as early as possible because the whole bill is superb. You’ve got prospects emerging and then some true 50-50s.”


Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com