Boxing

'He Was Acting The C***' - Barnes Shows Balls On Pro Debut Amidst Family Adversity

'He Was Acting The C***' - Barnes Shows Balls On Pro Debut Amidst Family Adversity

Lesser men would simply have postponed their professional boxing debut, and there were perhaps moments during Paddy Barnes' bow in the paid ranks when the thought would have crossed his mind.

With his fianceé, Mari, ill in hospital for the past 8 weeks, and the birth of their second child, Fíanna, last week, preparation for one of the biggest days in Barnes' career understandably slipped down his list of priorities.

But the show went on at Belfast's Titanic Exhibition Centre, and it ended spectacularly, if not quite in the manner with which the two-time Olympic bronze medalist would have envisioned.

Journeyman opponent Stefan Slavchev of Bulgaria arrived into a cauldron of noise intent not on winning, but spoiling the party. After wrestling Barnes to the deck on two occasions, he was eventually disqualified for hoisting the grossly superior Barnes aloft Dirty Dancing-style. Needless to say Barnes wasn't overly thrilled by his approach, nor how his own debut had transpired:

I came here to fight. Obviously people know that all journeymen do is survive, but I couldn't even pin him down or even make a fight of it and impress the home fans because he was running away so much. That's the really frustrating thing.

In amateur boxing people come to win even if they're crap. He was crap, so he ran away. It's so frustrating, like. That's the business. I was so eager to please the crowd, too. But even though I'm disappointed because I wasn't able to show the fans my true potential, I'm glad I got in there and done okay on my debut.

Slavchev remonstrated with the referee who, truth be told, seemed utterly sick of his shite following several warnings, but Barnes took umbrage with his protestations, and a rematch almost kicked off in the ring just seconds after the initial scrap had concluded.

Barnes explained:

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Well he was over slabbering at the referee. But he acted the c***, so if he's going to slabber at the referee, I'm going to slabber him, because he could have fuckin' paralysed me if he'd slammed me to the ground.

He did, however, point out that he had been prone to a bit of his own in-ring antics in years past...

No [it hasn't happened to me before], but I've done it to somebody else! Evan Metcalfe in Dublin. If you YouTube it, it’s ‘Paddy Barnes WWE style'!

Sure enough, here was Barnes on a Katie Taylor undercard back in 2013:

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Visibly frustrated by a night he perceived to be spoiled by his opponent's odd behaviour, the former Irish amateur boxing icon explained why he went ahead with the fight, even amidst such family difficulties as his fiancé remaining in hospital with his new baby daughter.

He also revealed that, in such circumstances, his chosen craft had taken a total backseat, and seemed relieved that he could now turn his full attention back to his young family:

This is pro boxing, I've sold a lot of tickets. You can't just pull out of a big fight. I'm trying to build a fanbase and bring big time boxing to Belfast. Sure if I'd have pulled out they wouldn't have given me any more fights.

To be honest I haven’t even been thinking about boxing, not even this fight. I was so excited about my debut, but I’m just focused on getting my fiancé home with the child and hopefully when they’re okay I can focus next year on titles.

Thankfully, Mari is now on the mend so says the man himself, and Barnes was keen to express his gratitude to the Belfast and Irish boxing community for their support, and for generating an arena-shaking atmosphere as he emerged for his pro debut:

I couldn't believe it. I wasn't expecting it. They were chanting throughout the contest. It was great.

All going according to plan, he'll return to action on home turf in February, when thoughts will begin to turn towards titles. And fast.

Once I get settled I want to get as much fights as I can. Well, actually, not as much fights as I can, because I want to set records, and be the fastest to win titles.

The 29-year-old has already set his eyes on the European strap, and definitively answers, "Four," when asked within how many fights he expects a European title to be achievable. The glint in his eye would suggest that a boxing-focused Barnes is nearing his return, and will be dangerous.

SEE ALSO: Watch: Paddy Barnes Wins First Pro Fight With Bizarre Disqualification Of Opponent

 

Gavan Casey
Article written by
Former handwriting champion. Was violently bitten by a pelican at Fota Wildlife Park in 2001.

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