Paddy Barnes predicting all-out war against Jay Harris at Ulster Hall
PADDY Barnes says a shot at world title is the prize for the winner of his Ulster Hall IBF inter-continental showdown with unbeaten Swansea fighter Jay Harris.
Belfast favourite Barnes and Harris (16-0) are former sparring partners and both are predicting an all-out war at the atmospheric Bedford Street venue tomorrow night.
“To get a fight like this in my home town is fantastic,” said Barnes (6-2), who got back to winning ways after consecutive losses when he out-gunned Joel Sanchez at Falls Park in August.
“I don't really care about the title, it means nothing to me, but if I win this fight it could get me a straight world title shot.
“I'm sure Jay will be the same, if he wins he'll be getting the shot. This title is just a belt, it's all to do with the ranking and our styles are going to gel so it will be a brilliant fight to watch.”
Fighters tend not to read too much into spars and both boxers remained tight-lipped over their gym meetings in the build-up to Barnes' WBC world title fight against Cristofer Rosales in August last year.
“He helped me out when I was getting ready for a world title and he was a very good sparring partner for me,” said Barnes.
“He's a good, come-forward fighter.
“When I was offered the fight I thought: ‘Why would I take this, I'm moving down to light-fly?' But if I win this it's gonna put me in line for a world title at flyweight. It was too big of an opportunity to turn down, Jay is 16-0 and he has a high ranking with all the governing bodies so it's a no-brainer.”
The Ulster Hall is sold out and Barnes has a large, vocal fan base who will be out in force to roar him on to the victory he needs to reignite his career. However, the former Holy Family ABC double Olympic medallist doesn't expect the atmosphere to trouble Harris.
“I have fought all around the world in massive arenas and small arenas that were packed out and it had no effect on me whatsoever,” he said.
“I'm an experienced fighter, Jay is experienced himself and I am sure he can deal with it too.
“The main thing is that the fight is going to be a brilliant fight and I'm sure the fans can't wait to see it.”
Harris is the current EBU and Commonwealth flyweight champion but those belts are not on the line tomorrow night. The Welshman is 29 but looks younger and he was in relaxed and confident form at yesterday's press conference in the Europa Hotel.
“We have massive respect for each other and there's no bad blood,” he said.
“One of us is going to go on to world honours and it will be a great fight for everybody I think. I think this is the biggest I've had, he's been to three Olympic Games' so having him on my record is massive.
“I wouldn't be coming over to Belfast if I wasn't confident in myself and this has the makings of a great, great fight. Our styles gel and we're both come-forward fighters so I'm confident in my ability that I can get the win.”
CARL Frampton will not face Luis Orlando Del Valle in Las Vegas on November 30 after the Nevada Athletic Commission failed to sanction the Puerto Rican this week.
Several other opponents are currently being sounded out to face ‘the Jackal' at the Cosmopolitan Hotel next month. Original opponent Isaac Dogboe turned down the opportunity to face ‘the Jackal', Del Valle accepted but the fight wasn't given the go-ahead.