Paddy Barnes had the collected press chuckling today at the Belfast Boxnation ‘Homecoming’ press conference at the Malone Lodge with his appraisal of his opponent Stefan Slavchev [8(2)-24(11)-1].
However, Barnes’s preparations for his pro debut at the TItanic Exhibition Centre have been no laughing matter, with his pregnant fiancé being hospitalised for much of a stressful camp.
Therefore, dreams of relocating to England for training and an eight-round Celtic Warrior title fight were put temporarily on hold and the Belfast man admits that, had he known beforehand how the camp would go, he would have pulled out of the fight.
Instead Barnes has managed to work out a schedule that allows him to fight in a six-rounder on Saturday night and he described how “it’s been stressful enough, it’s been tough, but I have been training anyway, I’m fit enough.”
“Family is more important than sport, my fiancé has been in hospital from eight weeks up to now and after the birth [of baby girl Fianna].”
“I’m just looking forward to getting this fight out of the way.”
That’s not to say that the 29 year old is not excited about his pro bow, and promised entertainment, explaining that his attacking style will be rewarded “more so than the amateurs, especially with the smaller gloves, I’m going to bring in knockout power and hopefully you’ll see a few KO.”
“I hope to go out there and shut up shop early.”
“On Saturday night I’m just going to try my best to enjoy it, becoming a professional boxer, because I’m not a professional yet, I haven’t fought yet. I’m looking forward to fighting in my home city.”