PADDY BARNES believes his place in Irish boxing history depends on the outcome of his make-or-break world title challenge next month.
Barnes is one of his country’s greatest ever amateur boxers, but is willing to risk his reputation when he faces WBC flyweight champion Cristofer Rosales at Windsor Park, Belfast on Saturday August 18, live on BT Sport.
The Irishman’s amateur stash includes bronze medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, he struck gold at the Commonwealth games in 2010 and 2014, and was 2010 European amateur champion.
But the 5ft 4in all-action star insists: “This is the night that defines my boxing career.
“There were great achievements as an amateur including Olympic bronze medals, but that is only third place in the world which is great.
“To be the best in the world at your weight, WBC world champion is definitely the one to win.
“I did great as an amateur, and people will remember me for what I achieved but a world professional title is what I really want.
“I ticked the boxes as an amateur and I want to do the same as a professional.
“I would swap everything I did as an amateur to win this fight.”
Unbeaten Barnes, 31, will only be having his sixth professional fight when he challenges Nicaraguan Rosales (27-3) in front of more than 20,000 fans.
No stone will be left unturned and Barnes has moved from the family home in Belfast to Glasgow for a training camp under Danny Vaughan ahead of the biggest night of his fighting life.
He added: “Even now I am away from home preparing, but it makes no difference. When I was an amateur my training camps were in Dublin.
“I have been doing this since I was 16 years old. It is a bit harder now because I have two kids, but hopefully it will be worth it in the end.”
Barnes is bringing in sparring partners from Mexico and the United States, after initial plans to spar with IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington fell through.
Warrington is lined up to face Windsor Park headline act, Carl Frampton later this year and Barnes says: “Josh would have been ideal sparring.
“That would have been a great spar, but he is probably be a bit too heavy at the minute because he is a featherweight and will be weighing over that right now.
“I would have loved to spar him because he is such a great fighter.”
WBO ‘interim’ featherweight champion Frampton faces Australian challenger Luke Jackson on the huge night of action on Hall of Fame promoter, Frank Warren’s show.
Lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury is back for his second fight on the comeback trail and faces former two-time world title challenger Francesco Pianeta.
Among the undercard action is a cracking Belfast v Dublin clash between Steven Ward and Steve Collins Jr. Lewis Crocker, WBO European middleweight champion Luke Keeler and Marco McCullough are also in action.
Limited remaining tickets are available from www.ticketmaster.ie. priced at £80, £100, £120, £150, £250, £400 (includes hospitality). Buying tickets over the phone – 0844 847 2455. To purchase Accessible Seating – 0333 321 9996
Irish Boxing Stars To Join Frampton, Fury & Barnes On Windsor Park Bill
Hall of Fame Promoter Frank Warren has today confirmed further undercard details for the Windsor Park event on Saturday 18th August, headlined by Belfast Hero Carl Frampton’s defense of his Interim WBO World Featherweight Title against Australian Luke Jackson. Frampton v Jackson will be broadcast live and exclusive in the UK on BT Sport.
An already mouthwatering undercard has been further strengthened with the addition of a Cruiserweight showdown between Steve Collins Jr and Steven Ward and slots for Irish stars Luke Keeler, Lewis Crocker and Marco McCullough.
The bill also features The Lineal World Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury, who continues his journey towards reclaiming the World Title belts that he never lost in the ring and Double Olympic Medalist Paddy Barnes’ challenge for the WBC World Flyweight Title against Chrisofer Rosales.
In a surefire barnstormer, MTK Global Cruiserweights Collins Jr (12-1-1-KO4) and Ward (7-0-KO3) will clash with ‘Quiet Man’ Ward enjoying home advantage and looking to preserve his unbeaten professional record.
Collins Jr – son of two-weight world champion and Irish Boxing Legend Steve Collins – will be looking to make his mark in his first fight of 2018 having been narrowly denied the Irish title by a points defeat to Paddy McDonagh last year.
Dublin’s WBO European middleweight champion Luke Keeler (14-2-1-KO5), was highly impressive in securing the vacant belt with a points victory over Conrad Cummings at Belfast’s SSE Arena in April will make the first defence of his crown against a top rated opponent.
Further down the card, welterweight KO king Crocker (6-0-KO6) is looking to continue his astonishing start to life as a professional.
The Belfast boy has halted all six of his opponents to date inside three rounds – the latest feat a savage first-round stoppage of Adam Grabiec on the undercard of Michael Conlan’s homecoming.
Another local star added to the action is super-featherweight Marco McCullough (19-4-KO11), who is out for the second time this year after outclassing Arnoldo Solano on the undercard of Carl Frampton v Nonito Donaire in April.
McCullough has previously challenged for Irish, British, European and Commonwealth belts and is looking to continue his journey back into title reckoning.
Promoter Frank Warren said: ‘I’m delighted that further Irish talent has been added to this already bumper card. The Ward v Collins Jr showdown is set to be a great fight for the fans on a card that already boasts Frampton v Jackson, The Lineal World Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury and Paddy Barnes’ World Title challenge against Cristofer Rosales.
I’ve been very impressed so far with Lewis Crocker who looks to have a great future and in my experience of promoting cards where Marco McCullough and Luke Keeler have featured, they are always in entertaining fights.
This is set to be the biggest night of boxing to ever take place in Belfast and we can’t wait to watch it all unfold amongst what I’m sure will be a fantastic atmosphere and a full house at Windsor Park.’
Limited remaining tickets are available from www.ticketmaster.ie. priced at £80, £100, £120, £150, £250, £400 (includes hospitality).
Buying tickets over the phone – 0844 847 2455
To purchase Accessible Seating – 0333 321 9996