Paddy Barnes is in for a shock tonight, according to former world-title challenger Silvio Olteanu ahead of their WBO European flyweight title clash in Belfast. The pair headline a Waterfront Hall fight bill that will be broadcast live on BoxNation, with two-time Olympic medallist Barnes challenging for his first professional belt, which ensures a world ranking for the winner, in just his third paid bout.
While the Belfast native has cautiously predicted a 10-round points victory, his Madrid-based Romanian opponent intends on spoiling 30-year-old Barnes’ big night by recording a knockout.
“I expect him to start quickly, very fast. That’s normal because he’s younger,” said 39-year-old Olteanu on his expectations ahead of tonight’s bout. “I’ll do my best, I’ll box like I always do and I think I can stop him,” added the Constanta native.
The visitor is coming off the back of two defeats, with Barnes an unbackable 1/100 favourite but Olteanu (16-11-1) is a 28-fight veteran with significantly more professional experience than his three-time Olympian opponent.
A former European champion, the Romanian missed out on claiming world honours when coming out the wrong side of a split decision to home fighter Daiki Kameda in a 2010 WBA title clash in Japan, although he has only recorded seven stoppage victories in his 16 wins.
Olteanu added: “I want to use my style and my force and power [to dictate the bout] and we’ll see what happens.”
Former European amateur champion Barnes was more cautious in his fight prediction, noting his veteran opponent has only been stopped twice — once on a cut, while his other premature loss came against England’s Paul Butler at a higher weight class when he was halted on his feet. “I’m not going to stop him, I know that for a fact. He’s never been knocked out clean, he’s a tough fella,” said Barnes, who hopes to produce an impressive performance after two underwhelming displays since turning pro last year.
A competitive undercard sees Dubliners Stephen Ormond (lightweight) and Jono Carroll (super-feather) challenge for stepping-stone titles in the chief-support bouts, taking on Wales’ Craig Evans and Liverpool’s Johnny Quigley respectively. Rio Olympian David Oliver Joyce makes his professional debut, fighting Hungarian Gabor Kovacs in a six-rounder. Belfast prospects Tyrone McKenna, Lewis Crocker, and Steven Ward also feature on the Waterfront fight card, which will be screened live on BoxNation from 7pm.
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