Paddy Barnes is eager to upstage his friend and fight-night headliner Jamie Conlan tomorrow night in Belfast.
Two-time Olympic medallist Barnes has his second professional fight, taking on Argentine Adrian Dimas Garzon on the undercard of Conlan’s clash with Nicaraguan Yader Cardoza for the vacant WBC international super-flyweight title at the Waterfront Hall.
Garzon is a former opponent of Conlan, who stopped the Argentine in four rounds at Dublin’s National Stadium back in 2015. And Barnes is determined to go one better by making sure he finishes off the 40-year-old Rio Grande resident even earlier.
“Since Jamie stopped him in the fourth, I’ll have to do him in the third,” laughed the 29-year-old, who labelled the fight as his ‘proper debut’ following a bizarre ending to his first pro contest against Bulgarian Stefan Slavchev last November.
That fight ended prematurely as Slavhev was disqualified for hoisting the Belfast man on his shoulder in the fourth round of their bout at the Titanic Centre.
“I wouldn’t say a tougher fight - I’d just say a fight because the last one wasn’t a fight, it was just a joke,” said Barnes on his expectations for tomorrow night’s bout. “This time, obviously this lad comes forward and I need a good fight to get ready for a title fight,” added the flyweight, who insisted he won’t be bothered by any ‘clowning’ tactics from Garzon.
The Argentinian played a pantomime villain for much of his November 2015 bout against Conlan, with Garzon gurning and clowning before being stopped in the fourth.
“I’m experienced enough not to be bothered by that,” said Barnes. “If he does act up, it’ll be funny, but I don’t really care,” added the Holy Family graduate ahead of his six-rounder.
The 29-year-old’s pre-fight training camp that lasted the guts of 10 weeks as Barnes and Conlan trained in Glasgow and visited Michael Conlan’s Los Angeles base before the original February 18 date for the Waterfront Hall fight night was postponed due to the latter picking up a chest infection.
However, the elder Conlan brother insists he is in tip-top shape as he prepares for a “war” against Nicaraguan Yader Cardoza.
Having justified his ring alias, “The Mexican”, during a number of recent battling victories, 30-year-old Conlan hopes to widen his options for a world-title shot by jumping up the WBC ratings with victory tomorrow night.
However, Cardoza, a former world-title challenger who took then light-flyweight champ Adrian Hernandez the distance back in 2013, is determined to upset the home fighter’s plans.
“I know Jamie Conlan and his Mexican style,” said the Nicaraguan. “I also have a Mexican style and I’ve fought against a Mexican fighter in Mexico for a [world] championship.
“I have great experience in that style of fighting, I’m well prepared and I will win on Friday night,” continued Cardoza, who carries a record of 22-10-1. “We will see a war. I’m mentally and physically prepared for a war and ready to win the war,” added the 28-year-old.
That was a statement that Conlan responded to in kind.
“That’s music to my ears,” said the Belfast native. “I’m expecting him to come out all guns blazing and I’ll be setting the Watefront alight on Friday night, I’m expecting a barnburner really,” added the undefeated 30-year-old, who is 18-0.
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