The Cliftonville flyweight has this afternoon had a shot at WBC champion Cristofer Rosales confirmed for the massive Carl Frampton Windsor Park undercard.
Whispers of the match-up have circulated over the weekend and the August 18th title fight was today confirmed by promoter Frank Warren.
The fight will be a first defence for Nicaraguan Rosales [27(18)-3(0)] who won the title with a shock victory in Japan over Daigo Higa in April.
A world title fight less than two years into his pro career and after just five fights, double Olympic bronze medalist Barnes will be looking to become Ireland’s twenty-first and earliest world champions – and the first fighter since Wayne McCullough in the 1990s to hold a famous green WBC title.
In 23-year-old Rosales he faces a dangerous if somewhat unheralded champion in what looks to be a instance of opportunism – with Team Barnes switching to the WBC route having previously looked to be going down the WBO path.
‘El Látigo’ was outpointed in an eight-rounder by current WBA super fly champion Kal Yafai back in 2015 before moving down in weight and establishing himself in the WBC rankings.
Last year he was brought in to face Andrew Selby and dropped the silkily skilled Welshman in the opening round before being widely outpointed. Again, Rosales rebuilt and scored an impressive away win over Italian Mohammed Obbadi to set up a world title tilt at Japanese wonderkid Higa.
That fight was the subject of controversy, with Higa missing the 112lbs limit by a full two pounds and seemingly being extremely affected by his weight cut and subsequently stopped by Rosales in the ninth round.
31-year-old Barnes comes into the bout following a big 2017 which saw him establish himself in the rankings of three of the major organisations [#6 WBO, #14 IBF, #16 WBC]. In the Summer he claimed the WBO European title with a win over Silvio Olteanu before stopping Elicier Quezada in November to take the WBO Inter-Continental belt.
Nicaraguan Quezada is also a common opponent for Barnes and Rosales, losing a ten-round split-decision to his countryman and being stopped in the fifth by the Irishman.
Frampton, as expected, faces unbeaten Aussie Luke Jackson, in the headline fight while an opponent for former unified heavyweight champion Tyson Fury will be confirmed shortly.
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)