The European flyweight title won’t be on the line when Paddy Barnes takes on holder Jay Harris in Belfast next month.
However the absence of the famous blue trinket won’t mean an absence of fight night fireworks assures the three time Olympian.
Harris won the EBU European title – and thus became real flyweight king of the Continent – when he defeated Angel Moreno in July, but EBU rules don’t allow him to put it on the line against the Belfast fighter at the Ulster Hall on October 11.
It’s a pity for Barnes, but an outcome he took on the chin and now approaches with typical humour.
“Unfortunately it’s not for Jay Harris’ European title because of the silly rules by the EBU, so the EBU can stick their belt, it’s a crap belt anyway. I’ll fight for the IBF Inter-Continental belt, which is a much better belt,” he said tongue-in-cheek when speaking to IFL TV.
Regardless of belts, it’s a big fight for Barnes versus his stablemate and IBF #6, WBO #11, WBC #12, and WBA #14.
Similarly the fighter, who is still considering a move down to light flyweight, believes the European title doesn’t have to be on the line for a potential fight of the year contender to play out.
The pair have sparred before and Barnes knows what to expect. The two time Olympic bronze medal winner predicts a gelling of styles and an must see encounter.
“I am really looking forward to it. I think it’s a fight you’ll see the best of me in. The styles will really mix here and it’s going to be a great fights for the fans.”
Having suffered two defeats either side of the turn of the year, Barnes was predicting a move down to light flyweight in a bid to secure another world title shot.
However, he claims a fight at flyweight against such a highly ranked foe was too big turn down.
“I got phoned about the fight and I had plans to make light flyweight, but a fight of this magnitude, I couldn’t turn it down.”
“Jay Harris has a good record and he is going in the right direction. This is a chance for me to beat someone of his calibre and put my name out there for possibly another world title fight – maybe at light flyweight or flyweight we’ll see what the offers are,” he adds before predicting victory.
“I know what kind of fighter Jay Harris is. He is in your face come forward, tough and durable and has a high out put. I just feel I have the boxing ability to beat him. He will obviously feel the same against me. I think it’s going to a good fight and the fans will be in for a treat.”