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'It's not good enough' - Paddy Barnes criticises the efforts of the IABA

The Belfast boxer is disillusioned with the promotion of boxing in this country.

Paddy Barnes told RTE he may turn professional if the opportunity arises.
Paddy Barnes told RTE he may turn professional if the opportunity arises.
Image: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

DOUBLE OLYMPIC BRONZE medallist Paddy Barnes has announced his intention to go professional if the right offer comes along.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Sunday Sport programme, the Belfast boxer spoke of his frustration with the support Ireland’s boxers are receiving from the Irish Amateur Boxing Association and why empty seats at the National Stadium would tempt him to go professional.

“Yeah [it's crossed my mind] a few times when I’ve watched my friend fight, Carl Frampton. He seems to be doing very well for himself and when Carl Frampton fights he fights in front of 9,000 people. When Paddy Barnes fights, he fights in front of 100 people, that’s my main concern.

“I’d rather be fighting in front of big crowds where people appreciate you more than fight in the National Stadium in front of 100 people.

“I’m used to fighting in front of small crowds but fighting in two Olympic Games, where the big crowds are, you get a feel for it and you always want to fight in front of big crowds and that’s all I want to do. I want to showcase my skills in front of a wider audience and professional boxing would probably be best for that.

“If a promoter came to me with a contract I’d be well on. 100%”

While admitting that the IABA and Irish Sports Council (ISC) have supported him up to now, the 26-year old says he has to start thinking about the future.

“I’m thinking for my own career, my own life — I’ve actually a kid on the way — and it’s my job. I’ve no education because I chose to box so I’m out now to  make as much money as I can and try secure my future.

“I’m well funded off the ISC and they’ve been really good to me but nothing’s guaranteed. After every year your funding is reviewed and if you’re not performing well it could be cut so I’m just looking long term.”

However, he was also critical about efforts made by the IABA to promote amateur boxing in Ireland.

“I thought by winning another medal in London my profile would be raised higher but I’m still the same person as I was in Beijing, the same people know me. The way the IABA is pushing boxing, it’s not good enough.

“I don’t know if it’s because the ISC isn’t giving the IABA enough money but I feel the IABA is not letting the wider public know when fights are on, about who we are, what we do and what kind of training we do.

“We need something in place to try and sort that out or amateur boxing is going to take another step backwards.”

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