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Dublin: 21 °C Wednesday 12 August, 2020

Paddy Barnes to fight European champion in Belfast headliner

The 32-year-old Irish boxing great [6-2, 1KO] will bid to resurrect his stuttering pro career in his hometown.

Paddy Barnes in action against Eliecer Quezada.
Paddy Barnes in action against Eliecer Quezada.
Image: Presseye/William Cherry/INPHO

PADDY BARNES WILL continue his bid to resurrect his stuttering professional career in a significant fight at Ulster Hall in his hometown of Belfast on 11 October.

The Irish boxing great, 32, will face EBU European champion Jay Harris, 28, in a non-title MTK Fight Night headliner which will be broadcast live on IFLTV on YouTube and on ESPN+ in the States.

Harris’ European title won’t be on the line because Barnes previously held the WBO’s European trinket, which disqualifies him from fighting for the EBU’s more prestigious continental belt for two years.

Barnes [6-2, 1KO] is coming off the back of an underwhelming points victory over 4-6-1(2KOs) journeyman Joel Sanchez on Michael Conlan’s undercard at Falls Park two weekends ago, but a win over Harris [16-0, 8KOs] would go a long way toward correcting a career path which has veered south since his world-title defeat to Cristofer Rosales 12 months ago.

The three-time Olympian and two-time Olympic bronze medallist was subsequently beaten by unheralded American Oscar Mojica on his American debut at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater back in March, albeit up at bantamweight, indicating post-fight that he would likely retire from the sport.

He changed his mind, however, vowing to launch one more attack on the world stage at his more natural weight.

“I can’t wait for this fight,” said the Belfast boxing icon. “It will be a great, exciting bout because Harris is an aggressive fighter like myself, so I already know he will be in my face and I won’t have to go looking for him which suits me.

“It is good it’s in Belfast as the fans wont have to travel far, but we are both experienced fighters so it doesn’t matter where it is. It’s going to be a brilliant fight.

After I fought on ESPN+ in New York, even though I lost, I gained a few thousand American fans as they loved watching me fight. They would message me asking me when I’m fighting next, so I’m sure they will tune in again.

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Added Harris, who in June earned a career-best victory over former world-title challenger Angel Moreno: “I’m really excited to be fighting Paddy Barnes. I think our styles will make one hell of a fight. I’m especially really looking forward to it after seeing the last Belfast show because the atmosphere was amazing and I can’t wait for it

“These are the types of fights I want to be In and to show what I’m about. It’s great to be live on a brilliant platform like ESPN+ again as well because it’s another chance to build a fan base in the USA and showcase my ability.”

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