Jay Harris and Paddy Barnes are officially set to meet at the crossroads.
The pair of United Kingdom-based flyweights made weight for their scheduled 10-round regional title fight, which takes place Friday evening at Ulster Hall in Barnes’ hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Wales’ Harris (16-0, 8KOs) weighed 111.6 pounds for his first career fight in Northern Ireland, with the entirety of his career taking place in his home country as well as England.
Paddy Barnes (6-2, 1KO) tipped the scales at 111.5 pounds, his lightest weight his last victory over an opponent with more wins than losses. The three-time Irish Olympian—who won a bronze medal in 2008 Beijing and 2012 London—is barely three years into his pro career but already at red alert status after suffering back to back losses. The 32-year old was stopped in four rounds by then-flyweight titlist Cristofer Rosales last August at home in Belfast, followed by a more devastating defeat when he dropped a split decision to Oscar Mojica—who claimed just one victory in his previous five fights—earlier this year on St. Patrick’s Day in New York City.
A bounceback win in August was more about restoring Barnes’ confidence and allowing him a slot on a hometown card headlined by Michael Conlan. Meanwhile, Harris, 29, enters on the heels of his biggest win to date, a 12-round virtual shutout of former title challenger Angel Moreno this past June in Cardiff, Wales.
The card also features former lightweight titlist Terry Flanagan (34-2., 14KOs), who faces Ghana’s Michael Ansah (17-9-2, 11KOs) in a scheduled eight round junior welterweight bout. Flanagan—who won his last start after dropping back to back decisions to Maurice Hooker and Regis Prograis in 2018—checked in at 139 pounds, while Ansah—whose lone previous trip to the UK resulted in a May 2014 points loss to Tommy Coyle—weighed 137 pounds.
In another scheduled junior welterweight heat, unbeaten local prospect Sean McComb (8-0, 4KOs) was a career-lightest 141 pounds for his eight-round affair with Nicaragua’s Emiliano Dominguez (23-5, 19KOs) who weighed 139.1 pounds.
Also of interest is the pro debut of former amateur standout, Paddy Donovan—a 20-year old southpaw from Limerick, Ireland—who meets late replacement Arturo Lopez. Donovan, a 13-time national champion who is now trained by former middleweight champion Andy Lee, was 147 pounds on the dot for his scheduled four-rounder versus Lopez, who weighed 144 barely days after selected to fill in for Mexico’s Sergio Torres who dropped out of the fight earlier this week.
The show will air live on ESPN+ in the United States and on IFL TV globally.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox