BOXING: Paddy Barnes looking to make big impact on professional debut
Paddy Barnes will start to write the next chapter of his boxing career when he takes to the ring at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast on Saturday night.
Barnes - now a father of two - who lifted two Olympic bronze medals in a glittering amateur career will take his first steps of his professional career.
Barnes’ amateur career did not end as he would have liked - being knocked out of the Rio Olympics early on - but he is now looking forward to the new challenge in his life.
“The Exhibition centre is a massive arena and it is great to make my debut there.
“The last time I would have fought in Belfast was 2007 in the Ulster Senior Championships.
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“I’m over the moon to, not just fight in Belfast, but to have my professional debut in Belfast. I’ve always wanted to. It will be great to start my career in my home city.
“It’s going to be great for me to fight, live, in front of them all It will give me an extra push, not that I need one, but it will give me something to train harder for.”
And Barnes says he has not really noticed the change over from amateur to professional.
“It hasn’t really sunk in. I have been boxing all my life and I have fought on bills bigger than this.
“It is not really daunting, to me it is just exciting and I am looking forward to the future.
“Preparation has gone well and I am looking forward to getting my professional career up and running in Belfast,” he added.
Belfast super-flyweight Jamie Conlan headlines the show as he faces David Koos in an eight round contest.
Conlan is in a line for a crack at the WBO World title and a win in Belfast will keep him moving towards that aim.
And Belfast’s Marc McCullough tackles Luis Lugo for the vacant WBO Inter-Continental featherweight title.
Belfast fighters James Tennyson and Steven ward will also feature. while Tyrone McKenna takes on Sean Creagh.
Philip Sutcliffe Jnr, Con Sheehan,Sean Turner, Stephen Ormon, Declan Geraghty and Gary Sweeney will also feature.