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Barnes vows to fight on

Paddy Barnes lost to Oscar Mojica by split decision on St Patrick’s Day in New York Paddy Barnes lost to Oscar Mojica by split decision on St Patrick’s Day in New York
By David Mohan

DESPITE hinting at retirement in the immediate aftermath of his defeat to Oscar Mojica at Madison Square Garden on St Patrick’s Day, Paddy Barnes has confirmed he intends to fight on.

It was a difficult night for ‘The Leprechaun’ in New York as he conceded a considerable size disadvantage to the Mexican American, having elected to fight at the unfamiliar bantamweight limit.

A broken nose from the first right hand and a crippling body shot in the second highlighted that his gamble of fighting way above his natural limit had backfired.

In the post-fight interview in the ring, the North Belfast man threatened to hang his gloves up, but having had time to reflect on the defeat and the circumstances of it, Barnes confirmed to Belfast Media Group on Friday night that he will fight on.

“Definitely, oh yeah,” he replied when asked if thoughts of retirement had been shelved.

“I was fighting someone who was too big and too heavy for me.

“On TV they said that I weighed-in at 199 and a half (pounds), but I don’t know where they got that from because I weighed in 188.8 and he was 188.2. That was him at his weight. He said he could make super-fly, but I can still make light-fly.

“Going forward, I know I need a tune-up fight and it will be at flyweight. I’m too small (for any heavier) because I’m not even a big flyweight so I am nowhere near big enough for bantamweight.”

The broken nose may have been the recurrence of old injuries from 2013 sustained at the Chemistry Cup and European Championships.

Indeed, a fractured nose in the semi-finals of the Euros six years ago forced Barnes out of the final, meaning he had to settle for silver.

“I had this broken in Romania (Chemistry Cup) and then again in the Europeans when I had to pull out of the final,” he recalled.

“He (Mojica) caught me with the first shot and I just knew it was broken.”

Barnes confirmed that the decision to fight at bantamweight, rather than his natural flyweight, was his own preference and nothing to do with struggles at the weight.

While he admitted the body shot that was ruled a slip in the second should have been counted, he also says that looking back at the fight, it was more competitive than he first thought and tallied with the judges who had it four rounds to two either way in a split decision verdict for his opponent.

“I requested to fight at that weight because I was thinking ‘why do I need to make flyweight here for no title?’ I asked could I fight a higher weight,” he explained.

“I was wondering why the referee didn’t give me a count, but then I watched it back and I saw he was on the other side.

“I didn’t go down properly because he pushed me. I was going down anyway, but he did push me so the referee seemed to think it was a push.I recovered quickly from it though and was straight back on him again.

“I thought the first third and sixth rounds I could have won. It was a close fight looking back, but with the nose, going down and his size – it was an uphill battle.

“I don’t really know what the plan is, but I don’t want to stop. I’ll be talking to my team very soon to see what I’m going to do next.”

The whole experience of fighting at such an iconic venue in world boxing has certainly contributed to his desire to continue on.

Even in defeat, it was a memorable experience and one he wants to experience again, but also agrees that he needs to park his desire to take huge risks in his career and build gradually towards titles.

“The experience was great – I loved it,” he confirmed.

“I’ve fought in bigger arenas over the years, but it was just the fact it was Madison Square Garden in New York was unbelievable. Plus, I remember being in the ring and looking across seeing Jimmy Lennon Jnr introducing me was just unbelievable.”

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