Paddy Barnes [6(1)-2(1)] is adamant there can be war without blood, bad blood that is.
The three time Olympian welcomes Wales’ Jay Harris [16(8)-0] to the #MTKFightNight at Belfast’s legendary Ulster Hall in a bout – broadcast live on ESPN+ in association with Top Rank – that will propel the winner to world title contention.
There is a lot on the line, particularly for the older of the two, Barnes, but the popular Belfast man isn’t going to try to secure himself any kind of physiological advantage in the build up.
The 32-year-old has too much respect for Commonwealth and European champion to lower the tone – and is adamant the fight has the potential to be that good it doesn’t need any build up antics to sell it.
Barnes predicts both will be respectful in the weeks leading into the October 11 headliner, yet he assures no pre fight war of words doesn’t mean there won’t be a physical war in the ring on the night.
“I’m not going to try and play any mind games. They’re a load of rubbish. People are already buying tickets so I don’t need to do any of that fake stuff to try and sell this fight,” said Barnes.
“Jay is a nice guy and we’ve sparred before. I like him. I’m sure he won’t say anything negative about me because we’re both respectful people.
“He’s obviously a great fighter. He’s always in your face and he’s always aggressive. He comes forward so I know what kind of fight I’m in for. I’m training for war and I believe his style will suit me.”
Harris has collected more pro trinkets than Barnes most noteably picking up the European flyweight title by defeating Angel Moreno last time out.
However, the Danny Vaughan trained fighter queries the level of opposition his opponent has had to face in collecting domestic and continental honours.
“Jay is already European champion and Commonwealth champion. He hasn’t fought any big names but he’s got belts. He’s up there towards world level so beating him would prove where I’m at.”
Joining the hotly-anticipated clash between Barnes and Harris on a stacked bill are other mouth-watering match-ups in Sean McComb vs. Emiliano Dominguez Rodriguez and Marco McCullough vs. Viorel Simion.
Also on the undercard, the likes of Lewis Crocker, Gary Cully, Conrad Cummings, Pierce O’Leary, Sean Duffy and Ruari Dalton will all be vying for the headlines.