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Dublin: 9°C Saturday 15 May 2021

Paddy Barnes: 'Without more money, Irish boxing is going nowhere'

Funding cloud hangs over Barnes and Irish boxing as they prepare for next month’s World Championships.

Barnes: will be looking to win his first World Championship medal in Almaty next month.
Barnes: will be looking to win his first World Championship medal in Almaty next month.
Image: INPHO/James Crombie

OLYMPIC STAR PADDY Barnes fears Irish boxing will be left in the dark ages unless it gets more funding.

Barnes is in the nine-man squad which flies out to Kazakhstan this weekend for a training camp ahead of next month’s World Championships.

Almaty could be the stage for the latest in a long line of major championship successes for Ireland’s High Performance programme, headed up by Billy Walsh.

It has already been a golden summer with John Joe Nevin and Jason Quigley winning European Championship titles in Minsk while Barnes and Michael Conlan took silver.

But without the funding to match its fighters’ ambitions, the squad faces the blow of losing some of its best talent to the professional game.

Olympic champion Katie Taylor hit out last week at the lack of fights and promotion which saw 2013 turn into a lost year for her while Nevin, twice a world championship medallist, is not in the squad for Kazakhstan as he tries to finalise his own pro deal.

“I saw what Katie said about boxing here not being advertised enough and that’s 100 per cent true,” Barnes said yesterday.

“I have criticised the IABA all the time — you only have to check my Twitter feed —  but it’s not really the IABA’s fault. They haven’t got the money to advertise.

“It’s the Sports Council’s fault because they need to put money into the IABA in order for them to put boxing out there.

“It’s the best sport in Ireland but with the budget we get, we can’t even afford to send the girls away to the World Championships.

We’re training in a 1970s gym more or less and everything has to be modernised.

The Sports Council has to stop talking shit and give us more money. They promise this and that but we put in a proposal for €1.2m and they only gave us €800,000.

“We need the money. Without the money, boxing is going to stay the same it as it is.

“We can progress to bigger and better things, but without this money we’re going nowhere.”

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Niall Kelly

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