By Kieran Breen
Paddy Barnes (5-1-0) will be looking to get back on track later this month as he features on the undercard of Josh Warrington’s world title defence against Carl Frampton on 22ndDecember at the Manchester Arena.
Barnes’ last outing in August this year was his first attempt at capturing world honours but resulted in him being handed his first loss as a professional at the hands of tough Nicaraguan, Cristofer Rosales (28-3-0).
The highly competitive bout was brought to an end in round four as Rosales landed a sickening body shot, stopping Barnes in his tracks as he looked to secure the WBC flyweight strap.
Although he was bitterly disappointed not to be crowned world champion at his native Windsor Park in Belfast, the 31-year-old knows that a win is now needed if he wants to push on for more big fights. He said: “I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring and getting back to winning ways to set up a big 2019 for myself.”
Going forward, Barnes believes that there is a certain element of training that is going to warrant a little bit more attention if he is to carry on mixing it at the top level.
He said: “Preparations have been going very well.
“I’ve focused a lot more on my strength.
“Going forward to next year I’ll again be putting more emphasis into my strength and conditioning as I expect to be back in the mix for big things.”
Stepping into the ring to fight for a world title after just five professional contests proves that the Northern Irishman does not want to waste any time in becoming champion of the world.
He explained: “I am not in this game for anything other than world glory.
“I’ve done great as an amateur and now I want at least one more crack at a world title.”
And although he may have come up short at the first time of asking, the former Olympic bronze medallist is adamant that he belongs at world level with the best fighters in the division.
He told us: “I know I can mix it with the likes of Rosales.
“He’s the number one flyweight and I still believe I could beat him.
“He’s a tough fighter who punches hard and caught me with a great shot that I wasn’t able to recover from, unfortunately.”
Rosales looks set to fight away from home again as he returns to the UK to make another defence of his world title against Charlie Edwards on the undercard of Dillian Whyte’s rematch with Dereck Chisora.
But Barnes does not fancy Edwards to cause an upset and is backing his former foe to emerge victorious in London.
“It’s boxing, everyone who gets in the ring has a chance.
“Charlie will have no doubt trained hard for this fight and will not want to let the opportunity slip away like his previous world title shot, but I don’t think he is good enough to beat Rosales.”
The WBO European champion is already looking ahead to possible opportunities on the horizon in 2019 and is even sizing up another world champion.
“Moruti Mthalane, the IBF champion, is my number one target for next year and I’m hopeful I can get that shot.
“He’s the only world champion that’s older than me!
“And obviously if Edwards were to beat Rosales then he would also become a target.”