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Belfast flyweight Paddy Barnes fails in bid to win world title

Barnes knocked down by Rosales

Paddy Barnes failed in his bid to win the WBC world flyweight title as he was stopped in the fourth round by champion Cristofer Rosales at Windsor Park.

Barnes was unable to recover from a brutal body shot from the Nicaraguan.

The pair had slugged out the previous three rounds in the middle of the ring, with both fighters backing themselves going toe-to-toe.

Rosales has won 19 of his 28 fights by knockout while Barnes suffers a first loss in six professional fights.

Belfast native Barnes surrendered seven inches in reach to his 23-year-old opponent and used neat footwork to move in and out of the pocket in the opening exchanges in front of a partisan crowd.

Rosales absorbed some powerful shots while regularly tagging with powerful hooks and upper cuts.

His thunderous right-hand inside the final minute of the fourth left Barnes writhing on the canvas in pain as the referee’s 10 count brought an end to an entertaining contest.

Barnes rolled around in pain after Rosales landed the key body shot

The world title shot perhaps came sooner than a lot of people expected for the two-time Olympic medallist, who turned professional at the age of 29.

In the build-up to the Windsor Park bout Barnes accepted that securing a world title in his sixth fight was going to be a tough ask, but added it was an opportunity that he could not turn down.

His opponent, who was making his first defence of the flyweight title, proved to be every bit as tough as his record suggested and appeared unperturbed by Barnes’ stylish combinations.

Meanwhile on an impressive undercard, Carl Frampton’s stablemate Steven Ward beat Steve Collins junior on points and Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games captain Sean McComb secured a fourth round stoppage.

Dungannon middleweight Conrad Cummings, Belfast featherweight Marco McCullough, Luke Keeler, Lewis Croker and Northern Ireland double Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Stephen Donnelly, from Ballymena, also secured victories.

Cummings had lost out to Keeler in a WBO European middleweight title fight at the SSE Arena in April.

‘Barnes will always be reminded of loss’ – analysis

Barnes now has one defeat and five wins in his professional career

Former British heavyweight champion David Price on BBC Radio 5 live: “Paddy Barnes will be disappointed as it was a massive opportunity in front of his own fans. He will not regret taking the fight, he will learn from it.

“The sooner he gets back in the ring the better. After a devastating loss you need to get back in the ring as soon as possible.”

Former middleweight world champion Andy Lee: “Paddy Barnes will have to come again. This will be devastating for him, this is his city, he is a proud Belfast man so to get stopped in his home city, he will be reminded of that wherever he goes.

“He is a robust character and someone who can come back from this loss, but he has to show what he is made of, get a few wins and come back as a world title challenger.

“He was stopped by a punch that would’ve stopped any fighter, he was caught with a very good punch to the body and when that happens there is not much you can do.”