Paddy Barnes “over the moon” to be finally back in Belfast

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When Paddy Barnes steps into the ring on Saturday night at the Titanic Exhibition Centre to face Stefan Slavchev it will be 3586 days since his last competitive bout in his home city.

That night Barnes defeated Dromore’s Ciaran O’Neill (19:11) to win the Ulster Senior light flyweight title at the Ulster Hall and the North Belfast man is eager to get back in the ring in the Titanic City.

The double Olympic bronze medalist debuts on the Boxnation-broadcast card and explained to UTV that “the last time I would have fought in Belfast was 2007 in the Ulster Senior Championships.”

Indeed the fact that this weekend’s card is scheduled for Belfast is the only reason that Barnes has not postponed his debut, following a heavily disrupted camp and a newborn daughter.

Describing his happiness at the prospect of trading leather on a big card close to home, the 29 year old admitted that “I’m over the moon to, not just fight in Belfast, but to have my professional debut in Belfast. I’ve always wanted to. It will be great to start my career in my home city. ”

Barnes, who will debut over six rounds at flyweight, believes that a home crowd will raise his level of performance and predicted that “it’s going to be great for me to fight, live, in front of them all [Belfast boxing fans]. It will give me an extra push, not that I need one, but it will give me something to train harder for.”

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