©INPHO/Donall Farmer
Knockout Blow

Hand injury forces Barnes out of European Boxing Championships

The reigning European Light-flyweight champion will not defend his title at next week’s Championships in Turkey.

PADDY BARNES’ DREAM of becoming the first Irish male to win back-to-back titles at the European Boxing Championships have been dashed after a hand injury forced him out of next week’s competition in Turkey.

The 24-year-old light-flyweight from the Holy Family club in Belfast was due to fly out to Ankara with rest of Ireland’s ten-man squad this morning with his sights set on retaining the title which he won in Moscow last June.

However, following a MRI scan in Belfast yesterday, it was revealed that he had suffered ligament damage and bruising on his left hand, prompting his withdrawal.

The European light-flyweight title will now be left vacant, with Barnes focusing on returning to full fitness ahead of the World Championships in Baku in September.

“Paddy was eagerly looking forward to defending his title in Turkey but the injury has prevented him from doing that,” Irish head coach Billy Walsh said in a statement this morning.

It’s a big blow to the Irish squad as we have lost a European champion to injury. The important thing now is that Paddy gets back to full fitness for the World Championships and Olympic qualifiers in Baku next September and October.

In pictures: Meet the Irish boxing team for next week’s Euro Championships >