Belfast’s Ulster Hall will host a flyweight showdown on October 11th when Commonwealth and European champion Jay Harris faces two-time Olympic bronze medalist Paddy Barnes in a Top Rank on ESPN+ headliner.
Harris (16-0, 8 KO) has done well against local competition but has yet to dip his toes in the world stage; his most notable victory came this past June against Angel Moreno, who’d challenged Charlie Edwards for the WBC title in March. Barnes (6-2, 1 KO), on the other hand, jumped right on in, fighting Cristofer Rosales for said WBC belt in just his sixth pro fight and getting smashed for it. Then came a surprise split decision loss to Oscar Mojica in March that had the then-31-year-old “Leprechaun” considering retirement. He ultimately changed his mind and returned to action five months later with a decision over 4-6-1 Joel Sanchez.
This is definitely do-or-die for Barnes, who enjoyed extensive amateur success but may have had too much mileage on him when he joined the pro ranks in 2016. The world-ranked Harris could serve as a springboard into contention, but it’s hard to see Barnes making another run after a 1-3 skid.