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'He’s probably been our most successful boxer. I'm gutted for him and his family'

Barnes will bounce back to lead team, insists coach John Conlan.

Barnes: shocked by Samuel Carmona in a split decision.
Barnes: shocked by Samuel Carmona in a split decision.
Image: Dan Sheridan

– Niall Kelly reports from Riocentro, Rio de Janeiro

PADDY BARNES WON’T let his shock Olympic defeat derail the rest of Ireland’s medal hopes, devastated coach John Conlan insisted.

Two-time Olympic medallist Barnes was widely fancied to add a third medal to his haul in Rio and join an elite list of boxers.

But he was stunned in the light-flyweight last 16 by Samuel Carmona, the Spaniard doing just enough in a nail-biting final round to eke out a split decision, 29-28, 28-29, 28-29.

“It’s just devastating,” Conlan said afterwards. “He’s probably been our most successful boxer, I feel.

This is his third Olympics and I personally felt he was getting a gold medal.

Seeded fourth in the 49kg division, Barnes was hot favourite against 20-year-old Carmona, who took silver at the final world qualifier in Baku earlier this year.

“It’s not a shoe-in,” Conlan said. “I mean every fight is hard. I watched five fights this morning, five tapes of this guy, and I know what he was bringing to the table.

“I watched him closely in the last few qualifying competitions and he was hard done against an English guy so I knew what to expect.”

Barnes indicated afterwards that the cut to 49kg had taken too much out of him this time around, and revealed that he had shed nine kilos in the last seven weeks just to make weight.

“Paddy is saying about the weight and eventually it does take a toll on you,” Conlan added.

“He made the weight bang on 49kg this morning. He was hitting hard in the warm-up with the pads and it’s just a little bit too much for him, as he said.

I’m gutted for him and his family.

Ireland’s team captain will now turn his attention to supporting the rest of his team-mates as they go for gold.

“He’s the life and soul of the camp,” Conlan added. “Michael (Conlan) was speaking there a couple of seconds ago and said he was devastated.

But they’re professionals, they’ll get on with it. They’ll sit down and they’ll joke a little bit about him being the first out and not welcome back into the room – they’ll have a bit of banter about it.

“He’ll do his job as the leader here, supporting everybody.”

The42 is on Snapchat! Tap the button below on your phone to add!

‘The fact some of you idiots are on here giving Paddy Barnes stick is f*****g disgraceful’

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Niall Kelly

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