Paddy Barnes set for Belfast pro debut

Paddy Barnes looks likely to make his professional debut in Belfast in November after confirming his intentions to move into the paid ranks.

Barnes’ sponsor Paddy Power yesterday detailed the two-time Olympic medallist’s hopes to fight in his native city “possibly before Christmas”.

When contacted about the possibility of fighting on a pro bill in November, Barnes said: “Possibly, yeah… I’d say I’ll be making an announcement in the next few days or the next week.”

Barnes’ friend Jamie Conlan, the super-flyweight Commonwealth champion and older brother of world amateur champion Michael, is set to headline a November 5 show at Belfast’s Titanic Exhibition Centre promoted by Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions.

That would appear to be a bill Barnes could feature on, although the 29-year-old has yet to confirm details of his promotional arrangements as a professional.

Barnes will return to training on Monday after shaking off a recent neck injury, but it is understood he has not yet linked up with a new pro trainer.

Barnes claimed bronze medals at the Beijing and London Games before competing in a third Olympics in Rio, although he suffered a disappointing opening-round loss to Spaniard Samuel Carmona Heredia after struggling to make the light-flyweight (49kg/108lbs) limit.

The 29-year-old told Paddy Power he intends to fight at flyweight, which is capped at 112lbs in the pro ranks, while he also hopes to claim a world title and book a fight against former Olympic rival Zou Shiming of China down the line.

“I’m going to start off at flyweight, hopefully move through the weights, and probably end up bantamweight at the end of my career,” Barnes told the bookmaker’s website.

“He [Zou] is the big-money fight and he’s the one who I’ll be targeting. I want to win the world title, go to China and defend it against him,” added Barnes.

Meanwhile, Barnes’ amateur team-mate Michael Conlan is believed to be in talks with a number of US promoters during a visit to Las Vegas, including Floyd Mayweather’s promotional company.


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